The notion that the Toronto Raptors will trade for Giannis Antetokounmpo might not be as crazy as it seems.
Just days after Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix floated the idea of the Raptors trading for the reigning MVP this summer, The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote that he thinks the Milwaukee Bucks are more likely to trade Antetokounmpo than let him walk as a free agent if he doesn't accept a contract extension this summer.
"More likely than not, any scenario where he leaves Milwaukee happens via trade due to the threat of his leaving for nothing in 2021," Hollinger wrote. "So, the Raptors may not have to play this all the way out to the following summer — just maintaining the flexibility to threaten to sign Antetokounmpo is likely enough."
Any trade for the Greek Freak first hinges on Antetokounmpo declining a contract extension this summer, which the Bucks are reportedly ready to offer their franchise superstar this offseason. If he doesn't accept the offer, he'd be playing the 2020-21 season as a pending free agent and Milwaukee might be wise to try to recoup some of his value — like the Pelicans did with Anthony Davis — rather than let him walk for nothing — like the Raptors did with Kawhi Leonard, albeit with a championship ring.
With Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol all free agents this offseason, the Raptors best trade assets under contract this summer are Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Terence Davis, Kyle Lowry, and Norman Powell, and any deal for with Milwaukee would have to include multiple players from that list.
Assuming the Raptors want to keep Siakam, the best the Raptors can offer is probably a trade involving Anunoby, Davis and Lowry to match money. Toronto would no doubt have to throw in picks, but does that seem like enough to pry the 25-year-old arguably best player in the NBA away from a small market team?
Toronto's best bet is probably to hope Milwaukee plays its cards poorly and lets Antetokounmpo test the open market. Otherwise, a deal for Antetokounmpo would seem to require the Bucks taking pennies on the dollar.