Standing at 6-foot-10 with the ability to play multiple positions, the Milwaukee Bucks’ so-called “Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo, has quickly emerged as one of the NBA’s finest all-around players. However, he isn’t unlike many of his fellow players around the NBA, as he found himself quite surprised with two of the biggest free agency moves this summer — LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, and former New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins signing on the cheap and joining the Golden State Warriors on a one-year contract.
In an interview with EuroHoops that also featured his older brother Thanasis, Giannis Antetokounmpo discussed a variety of basketball-related topics, including their rags-to-riches story, and how Giannis felt like he was the “next chosen one” when he was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Both brothers also chimed in with their opinions about the James and Cousins signings, with Thanasis saying that James’ move to Los Angeles was “expected by many.”
Even with the awareness that James’ children were being enrolled in Los Angeles schools, Giannis Antetokounmpo said that it was more of a shock that he decided to sign with the Lakers. His older brother, however, said that it’s an “entirely different conversation” when it comes to the possibility of significant changes upsetting the NBA’s competitive balance due to the move.
Talking about DeMarcus Cousins’ signing with the Warriors, Giannis expressed surprise that the “best big man” in the league joined the team that won three NBA championships in four years, and for so little money.
“I was really very shocked. And also for the money he got. Some may have forgotten it, but I think he is the best big man in the NBA.”
According to 247Sports, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s comments about the Cousins signing, in particular, were consistent with the general opinion of NBA fans. Despite averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game before his 2017-18 season ended due to a torn Achilles tendon, Cousins received little interest as a free agent, with even his last team, the New Orleans Pelicans, hesitating to re-sign him to a new contract. As a Warrior, Cousins will be joining a team with four All-Star starters, including former MVPs Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, but is expected to miss some time early on in the 2018-19 season as he continues recovering from his injury.