Giannis And His Future

You got this guy all wrong.

Jim Rome
September 09, 2020 - 11:12 am
Giannis Antetokounmpo

USA Today

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The Milwaukee Bucks were erased by the Miami Heat last night and because of how people are, the immediate topic has nothing to do with the Miami Heat and what they’ve done, but it’s all about Giannis and his future.

And the easiest segment ever would be for me to sit here and say: if you’re Giannis what do you do? Do you sign the supermax deal when it’s offered or do you wait until free agency next summer?

And if I was really a hack, I’d throw open the phones and ask for fans of other teams to make their pitch to Giannis. I’d ask Warrior, Heat, and Laker fans to call in and pretend to be general managers and make a presentation to The Freak.

Or I could go in a different direction – I could do the really stupid thing where the host challenges the toughness of an athlete by questioning why Giannis didn’t play last night.

Never mind that he’s dealing with a jacked up ankle, and that the team held him out, and that he would probably saw off his leg if there was a chance he could play in the game, you know there’s probably some dope out there today questioning the toughness of Giannis. And it’s moronic. And contrived. And lazy. And obvious. All wrong. 

In fact, why don’t we just address that imbecility first – the question of whether or not Giannis should’ve played and whether he wanted to play. First, he should not have played. Secondly, he clearly wanted to play.

You think a guy who busts his ass the way he does, a guy who cares for his teammates the way he does, a guy who wants to win as badly as he does, is going to be in that spot and tell everyone, nah, I think for the first time ever, I’ll take the easy out; I’ll take the path of least resistance. And you know why?  I just figured out winning ISN’T easy. And it’s way overrated. And in fact, the ring isn’t the thing; the paycheck is: and I’m not going to do a damn thing to jeopardize mine. Feel me?  Is that what you think this guy was thinking? If so, you have him and IT, all freaking wrong:

So now that we’ve got that cleared up for any idiots, let’s move on to the question of Giannis and his future. And whether losing that series is also going to cost the Bucks a chance at keeping him.

I’m not walking around inside this guy’s head. But I wish I were. Because I’m really curious what he’s thinking. Like, how does he process that loss? I’m sure the first thing he’ll do is look in the mirror and figure out where he came up short; where he needs to improve. Because as dominant as he is, there are still some holes in this game. He needs to own that; and he will. But the fact of the matter is, they failed him. Again. Letting Malcolm Brogdon get away came back to bite them in the ass. They need to get him more help; question is, will they? Better question is, does Giannis think they will. Because he’s all in; but if feels like they’re not, why stay? Because they can pay him more? Ehhhh!  Wrong answer; he’s made it really clear, winning is the most important thing. And frankly, they’re not doing enough of that. Frankly, they weren’t’ ready for the big stage: and getting bounced by Miami in the second round, in five games, given their expectations this season, was a disaster. So, yes, I’d love to know what the big fella is thinking right now: does he think it’s’ a process and they’re on the right track: or does he think he’s going to have to leave to get what he really wants. Yes, he got hurt. Yes, COVID happened. But COVID happened to everyone else too; and the fact is, as dominant as the Bucks were before the shutdown, they never looked right after it. 

So where do we go from here: the team can offer him the super max contract before the end of the year, a deal that would pay him way more than any other team would be allowed. But he doesn’t have to sign it; and he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season. So, how does he approach it: does he hold the league hostage this offseason, and make it all about him the way others before him have. No names mentioned. Kevin Durant. Doesn’t sound like it: not if you see what he told Chris Haynes after the game:

“It’s not happening. That’s not happening. Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season."

Again, he’s not saying he’ll lock in long term. But what I’m hearing is, I can’t wait to get back in the fight. And I do like it here. And I’m not looking to leave. But it also says here, he’d be a dope not to look around and see if there’s a better situation for him: which makes it incumbent upon the Bucks organization to convince him that there’s not.  Because you know Bob Myers, Pat Riley, that Rob Lowe look alike here in LA... And others damn well will be trying to convince him that there is. Good news is, I don’t think he’s looking to leave. Bad news is, they haven’t given him enough good reasons to stay: and just being able to pay him a helluva lot more than anyone else is not doing enough to get him to stay. They’re going to have to do more. A lot more. Because if his future there is getting bounced early every year in the playoffs, his future ain’t there."