Bucks Rumors: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley

Opposing teams are “praying” that Giannis Antetokounmpo reconsiders his future with the Bucks following another first-round playoff exit, per Marc Stein of The Stein Line.Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

“Teams are already hoping, crossing their fingers tightly, wishing, praying that Giannis is moved to rethink his future as a Milwaukee Buck — even though it was just last October that the Giannis’ response to the Damian Lillard trade acquisition was to immediately sign a three-year max extension with Milwaukee,” Stein said on the This League Uncut podcast. “But that’s not going to stop potential Giannis trade suitors from lusting after the idea that he is somehow unsettled there anew.”

That said, Stein is correct — Antetokounmpo signed a three-year, $186 million maximum contract extension with the Bucks in October. So he seems far from likely to ask out.

For his part, Antetokounmpo said back in September on the 48 Minutes podcast that it’s all about winning, period, end of discussion.

“At the end of the day, I am a winner. I want to be a winner. Contracts, fame, status, comfort zone … does not matter to me. What matters at the end of the day is that thing right there,” Antetokounmpo said, pointing to the Larry O’Brien Trophy behind him.

“That’s what matters. And I don’t want to be able to get stuck in this lifetime to keep on talking about the same story: ‘Oh, we went to Game 6 in the NBA Finals, we won. We were down 2-0, we came back, we won four games.’ I’m tired of hearing the same story over and over again.”

Antetokounmpo, of course, missed the Bucks’ first-round playoff loss to the Pacers with a calf strain, suffered back in early April. It’s been reported that he still can’t run because of the injury.

“Maybe I have to even adjust my game, the way I play,” Antetokounmpo told reporters. “There’s a lot of things. I’m willing to do anything — anything and everything — in order for me to be right there on the court and not let my teammates down.

“I’m for sure going to sit down and think about it, of how my summer is going to look like and how next year is going to look like. And I’m thinking with my physio and the staff and I’m going to try and make the best decision possible for me to be available.”

  • The majority of the Bucks’ nucleus is under contract for next season, as noted by Mark Deeks of HoopsHype. So they should be able to run it back, with just a few changes around the fringes.
  • The list of those who are signed — Antetokounmpo, Lillard, forward Khris Middleton, center Brook Lopez, forward/center Bobby Portis ($12,578,286) and wing Pat Connaughton.
  • Milwaukee will have to pay the repeater tax, however, and that brings to question players such as shooting guard Malik Beasley, who signed a minimum deal before the season. He played well enough that he’ll get a much bigger deal in free agency this summer.
  • Deeks wrote: “Aged 27, Beasley will want a big payday for his prime years, and because he was only with them for one year since signing as a free agent, the Bucks will have no Bird rights to use as leverage. Perhaps the taxpayer MLE gets it done, if the Bucks can fit it in.”
  • Guard Patrick Beverley and forward Jae Crowder are also entering free agency, and Deeks suggested both could return on bare-minimum deals. The Bucks did like Beverley’s fire (when properly channeled) after trading for him in February.
  • Of Beverley, Deeks wrote: “Turning 36 before the start of next season, Beverley is a minimum salary player from here on out, yet as long as his role on the court is not too big, Milwaukee can justify giving him it.”
  • Finally, Lillard has repeatedly expressed a desire to remain in Milwaukee, despite reports, and it is widely believed he’ll be back. “I saw somebody say, ‘Dame’s not happy in Milwaukee’ or something like that,” Lillard said before the playoffs. “I know the truth. I love the situation that I’m in.”

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