The halcyon dream that Toronto Raptors fans had for years involved Giannis Antetokounmpo spurning the Milwaukee Bucks, rekindling his connection with Masai Ujiri, and joining the league’s lone Canadian team. This seemed like a pipe dream for so long.
Antetokounmpo seemed to shoot down any chance of playing for Toronto in an interview with Serge Ibaka in 2022, but things may have changed recently. Giannis admitted in an interview that he might not sign an extension if he doesn’t believe the Bucks are putting together a winner. The Raptors are reportedly viewed as a “dark horse” for him.
The Raptors don’t have the ammunition to pull off a trade for Antetokounmpo at this point in time, as they would need to throw their entire plan for the season out the window. However, with their assets, Ujiri might need to plan for a future where Giannis becomes available.
The Antetokounmpo sweepstakes is largely out of Toronto’s hands, as a lot needs to happen before the Raptors can be considered a legitimate destination. However, if these three things happen, the slight chance of Giannis making the switch could slightly increase.
Here’s how the Toronto Raptors can get Giannis Antetokunmpo.
1. Bucks don’t add another star
Giannis seems willing to return to Milwaukee if the effort is there. While Antetokounmpo has built a winner on the back of himself, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton, he is likely very aware of the fact that Father Time might come to cut this trio down to size.
Milwaukee might need to offload one of them in order to add a star who is more controllable and younger. With many of their future draft picks already shipped away (they traded five second-round picks for Jae Crowder), this might be the best way for the Bucks to add a star.
The Toronto Raptors must hope the Bucks don’t get a star.
The Raptors have players that a desperate Milwaukee team could target if they needed to make a move, as Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby have both been thrown into the rumor mill. However, it seems unlikely that Ujiri would aid the Bucks in keeping Antetokounmpo.
With how thin the bench is and how much young talent is needed on this roster following years of trading away all of their top draft picks, the Bucks will be as reliant on Giannis this season as they have in any of the last five or six campaigns. That could be the precursor to a trade.