Time’s up Milwaukee

Time’s up Milwaukee
September 23
14:16 2020

For the second year in a row, the Milwaukee Bucks were bounced from the playoffs before they reached their preseason goal. With high championship aspirations to begin the year, it was a letdown for the Bucks to go home in the semi-final round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Another early exit from the playoffs now puts all eyes on Giannis Antetokounmpo and what his next move will be.

Everyone was expecting the Bucks to represent the eastern conference in the NBA Finals this year. The Bucks came into the playoffs with the best record in the league and looked to continue their momentum in the bubble.  Unfortunately for the Bucks, once the restart began, they did not look like the same dominant team from earlier this year.

Giannis is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020-2021 season and is eligible for a super-max extension that is expected to be worth around $254 million over five years. The question is whether he will resign with the Bucks or look to go elsewhere to make a run at a championship. He can make more money with the Bucks, but at this point in his career, he may be more concerned with winning rings.

It was reported late last week that Giannis unfollowed all his teammates and the Bucks on Instagram.  Antetokounmpo has been the subject of trade rumors and it looks like if the Bucks don’t make a dramatic roster move, they may have to exercise that option to ensure they get something in return for Antetokounmpo.

Bucks ownership and Giannis met last week to discuss the future of the franchise. The Bucks were eliminated in five games by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs. After the game, Antetokounmpo said he would not request a trade.

“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it,” he said. “We just have to get better as a team individually, and get right back at it next season.”

While Giannis is saying all the right things, internally he must be feeling disappointed with how he and his team finished the season. Their shortcomings as a team were exposed by the Heat and those issues must be addressed by the team this offseason.

One of the biggest issues plaguing the Bucks is their lack of playmaking ability outside of Antetokounmpo. Khris Middleton is the other All-Star on the Bucks and is the wingman to Giannis. Far too often Middleton disappears from games at the biggest moments. 

After watching the Bucks very closely for the last two years, Middleton does not seem to be an adequate number two option for the Bucks. The goal this offseason should be to add another All-Star caliber wing player that will take some of the pressure off Middleton.  

Antetokounmpo seems to be the type of player that is content with playing in a smaller market, but Milwaukee can’t go cheap and not go for it all right now. Much of the league’s star power is in the western conference, so now is the time to maximize their opportunities.

There are a few notable players that will more than likely be available this offseason and the Bucks must pull out the red carpet to make sure they secure one of these players. Brandon Ingram or Danillo Gallinari would be two great options to fill that wing scoring void.

Another area I think the Bucks could use an upgrade would be at the point guard position. Fred Van Vleet or Mike Conley Jr. would be good options, because Eric Bledsoe does not seem be the right point guard for this team. The Bucks could also look for trade options to possibly acquire Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Regardless of how much it costs, Milwaukee must show Giannis they are willing to do whatever they can to bring in the necessary talent they need to win. That may mean that the Bucks will have to go over the luxury tax threshold to do so, but at this point they should exhaust all measures to make sure they keep Antetokounmpo happy, because if he leaves, the Bucks will go back into obscurity.

I would hate for Antetokounmpo to leave Milwaukee and possibly form or join another super team. I like the fact we have some sense of parity in the NBA, but if he joins a contender, the league will be boring once again, similar to when Kevin Durant joined the Warriors. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope the Bucks can keep Giannis and continue fighting for a championship in Milwaukee.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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