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Bucks won’t trade Giannis if he turns down contract extension

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Report: Bucks won’t trade Giannis if he turns down extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Whether the Milwaukee Bucks can reach a contract extension with Giannis Antetokounmpo or not, they will not entertain trade offers as his free agency looms one year from now.

That is according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, who wrote this on Monday of the Bucks’ plans:

“Multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade Antetokounmpo if he passes on the extension. Instead, the Bucks will try to improve their roster and use the next year to show Antetokounmpo why he should stay.”

In a way, it’s easy to see why the Bucks would prefer that route, as Antetokounmpo is a truly great player. But history has shown there is considerable risk to weigh in keeping a superstar who is nearing free agency.

The risk would be Antetokounmpo walking and leaving them with nothing. We saw that approach from the Oklahoma City Thunder backfire when Kevin Durant bolted in 2016. LeBron James has also left the Cavs similarly back in 2010.

The opposite was done by the New Orleans Pelicans, who traded Anthony Davis one year before he could leave. That netted them a major haul of draft picks and young players and set them up to quickly become a team on the rise. It also worked out for Davis, who went to the Lakers and won a championship in his first year.

The Spurs also traded Kawhi Leonard one year before his free agency. Though, like Davis in New Orleans, Leonard essentially forced San Antonio’s hand and pushed his way out. Also like Davis, he won a title with his new team.

Antetokounmpo has made it clear he won’t ask for a trade, which leaves the decision entirely up to the Bucks. Until his future is settled, the rest of the league will be watching, including some who have their eyes on signing him if he becomes a free agent.

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