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How The OKC Thunder Can Acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo Amid His Milwaukee Bucks Departure Intensions

If the Milwaukee Bucks fail to satisfy Giannis Antetokounmpo’s requirements, the former MVP might find himself seeking a new team. For the past ten years, Milwaukee has been Giannis Antetokounmpo’s residence, but this situation might change soon.

In a recent conversation with The New York Times, Antetokounmpo outlined his objectives for the upcoming years, including his aspiration to secure another NBA championship, either with the Bucks or on a different team.

Although a major change isn’t on the horizon, Antetokounmpo’s future path will be heavily influenced by the upcoming offseason. While it’s not certain, the possibility of him requesting a trade in the summer of 2024 could lead him to consider the Oklahoma City Thunder as a viable option.

Antetokounmpo expressed his reluctance to agree to a Bucks extension this year, opting to wait until the following year. Despite his strong desire to remain with a single team throughout his career, his determination to secure another championship will be the key factor guiding any choices he makes.

“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do,” Antetokounmpo said. “And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”

Should Antetokounmpo opt out of signing an extension in 2024, the Thunder might find themselves well-positioned to engage in a trade for him. Given that any team acquiring Antetokounmpo in 2024 would only have him for a single season, the Bucks might not receive numerous attractive trade proposals.

How The OKC Thunder Can Acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo Amid His Milwaukee Bucks Departure Intensions

The Thunder’s advantage could lie in their capability to provide several first-round draft picks obtained from prior transactions. If these picks are bundled with at least one of the following players: Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, or Cason Wallace, the Thunder could potentially present the most appealing trade offer.

Acquiring Antetokounmpo through a trade would bring about significant changes to the team’s composition, yet the potential benefits would likely outweigh the associated risks. In this scenario, Oklahoma City would aim to retain Holmgren to form a frontcourt partnership with Antetokounmpo. The preference would be to trade just one of either Giddey or Williams.

Given that Giddey’s contract extension potential would start in the 2025-26 season, preceding Williams’s by a year, he would serve as the focal point of a trade package that includes Wallace and Luguentz Dort. Additional players would then be included to match Antetokounmpo’s $48.7 million salary for the 2024-25 season.

As a result, the core of the Oklahoma City team would consist of Antetokounmpo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams, and Holmgren. These four foundational players could seamlessly complement each other, drawing parallels to the composition of Antetokounmpo’s current team, the Bucks.

Combining Antetokounmpo with an exceptional defensive center capable of outside shooting has yielded remarkable outcomes. Over the last five seasons, Brook Lopez has effectively filled that role, proving pivotal in the Bucks’ championship victory in 2021.

While Khris Middleton has been a seamless match alongside Antetokounmpo, teaming up with Gilgeous-Alexander would instantly pair him with the most talented teammate to date. This potent star duo could potentially persuade Antetokounmpo to commit long-term to the Thunder.

Incorporating Williams into the equation not only molds the Thunder into a team that complements Antetokounmpo’s strengths, but their youthful roster could keep the two-time MVP content for an extended period. As the Thunder’s young players mature into championship-level assets, they could aid Antetokounmpo in contending for titles as he transitions from his prime to the later stages of his career.

Off the court, the Thunder offer Antetokounmpo a unique advantage. Their player-centric reputation and family-oriented culture align well with Antetokounmpo’s values.

While the Thunder prioritize on-court success, their emphasis on valuing players as individuals resonates deeply with Antetokounmpo’s own perspective. Yet, despite the potential for a significant impact from Antetokounmpo and the Thunder’s readiness to make a bold move, timing could remain a challenge. If the Thunder make considerable progress in the 2023-24 season, expediting their plans might not be advisable.

Remaining committed to their step-by-step rebuilding approach, the Thunder might not wish to disrupt an already effective formula if they become contenders with their existing core in the 2024-25 season.

Ultimately, the feasibility of any potential trade hinges on forthcoming developments in Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. Should circumstances align favorably, the Thunder might once again boast a duo of MVP-caliber players.

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