NBA Rumors: Giannis Antetokounmpo Leaving Bucks For Warriors If Kevin Durant Returns Healthy

Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Team LeBron defends Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Team Giannis during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

In the past months, rumors have been continuously swirling around Giannis Antetokounmpo and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks. The reigning MVP will be eligible to sign a massive contract extension with the Bucks next offseason but as of now, he hasn’t given them any assurance whether he will ink a new deal or test the free agency market in the summer of 2021. There are several factors that could affect Antetokounmpo’s decision next summer.

Aside from the outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN recently said in The Stephen A. Smith Show, via Youtube, that Giannis Antetokounmpo may choose to stay or leave the Bucks depending on Kevin Durant’s health status. If Durant fully recovers from his injury and immediately regains his All-Star form, Smith predicted Antetokounmpo will part ways with the Bucks and join the former NBA champions, Golden State Warriors.

“The Brooklyn Nets once Kevin Durant arrives will be title contenders because who are you going to defend to knock off the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference if Kevin Durant returns?” Smith said, as quoted by Fadeaway World. “As a matter of fact, here’s what I’m going to tell you: If Kevin Durant returns and his healthy, Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t stay in Milwaukee past next year. He’ll leave for Golden State! Because, why bother in the Eastern Conference with Kevin Durant and Kyrie?”

Though they would be needing to make multiple roster moves to create enough salary cap space for a max contract, the Warriors are really considered as one of the top landing spots for Giannis Antetokounmpo should he enter the free agency market in the summer of 2021. Antetokounmpo is a friend of Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, and both of them are being represented by Jeff Austin of Octagon.

Loading...

However, it remains a big question mark if Kevin Durant’s return will really serve as one of the major reasons why Giannis Antetokounmpo would leave the Bucks for the Warriors. Once a healthy Durant joins Kyrie Irving and the Nets’ promising core, Brooklyn will undeniably become a major threat to the Bucks in the Eastern Conference. However, Antetokounmpo is not the type of player who runs away from that type of challenge.

Instead of being scared of the Nets, Giannis Antetokounmpo could use it as a motivation to further improve his performance on both ends of the floor. All the Warriors’ fans will undeniably love to see Antetokounmpo wear the same jersey as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, but the reigning MVP has already said on numerous occasions that he has no intention of teaming up with other NBA superstars just to win his first NBA championship title.