NBA rumors: Raptors viewed as “dark horse” for Giannis Antetokounmpo

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors fanbase suffered a severe blow to their ego when Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo said there was a 0% chance he would ever play for them in an interview. Perhaps the Raptors may have their interest in him rekindled after the latest rumblings. 

Antetokounmpo exit rumors have started to pop up in recent days, as Giannis said that returning to the Bucks is not a guarantee. If he is not sold on the Bucks’ efforts to build another champion around him, he is not going to sign a very expensive extension with them.

According to an anonymous NBA executive, per Sean Deveney of, the Oklahoma City Thunder would be considered the pack leader for Giannis due to all their young assets and draft picks. However, multiple dark horses are lurking in the weeds.

The exec identified the Raptors and San Antonio Spurs as potential sleepers who could end up with Giannis once the dust settles. The quotee said that “you can’t rule out” either San Antonio or Toronto in this sweepstakes, adding that the Raptors would “really have something there” if they managed to pull this off.

NBA rumors: Toronto Raptors linked to Giannis Antetokounmpo

Acquiring Antetokounmpo would require Masai Ujiri to eviscerate the current roster to both free up cap space and make things more complementary for the Greek superstar. If you think the lack of spacing is limiting Pascal Siakam’s effectiveness, that issue could be amplified with Giannis on the floor.

Even with that concern hovering over, Ujiri would likely jump at the opportunity to pull this off. After trying to trade up in 2013 to acquire him, Ujiri aided the Antetokounmpo family by helping them get Greek documentation. Ujiri and Giannis share a connection that is bigger than basketball.

While there are some concerns about how gracefully Antetokounmpo’s game would age, even a slightly compromised Giannis would be one of the best players in the league and a leader that is capable of shouldering the offensive load. Bringing him on and making him the team’s next franchise player is improbable, but not impossible.

The Raptors and their fans shouldn’t expect Giannis to come to Toronto, but they need to figure out what is going on in Milwaukee and gauge his desire to leave the only NBA home he has ever known potentially. Very few assets, if any, would be considered untouchable.

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