Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo may be currently focused on helping the Milwaukee Bucks end their decades-long title drought, but it has also been a dream of his to play on the same team as his two brothers, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antetokounmpo. With him and Thanasis currently teammates in Milwaukee, Giannis could turn his dream into a reality by simply convincing the Bucks’ front office to go after Kostas next summer. However, if the Antetokounmpo brothers decide to make it happen somewhere else, the Los Angeles Lakers could emerge as one of their favorite landing spots.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the Lakers are “preparing for the opportunity” to steal Giannis from the Bucks when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021. However, before they could make that happen, Pincus noted that the Lakers would first need to convince LeBron James to accept less than the max in the 2021 NBA free agency.
“To give the Lakers an assist in landing Antetokounmpo, James can opt out of his $41 million salary after the 2020-21 season, re-signing at a lower figure. He would be eligible for a raise, starting at roughly $43.8 million, but if he’s willing to do about $34.3 million, the math would work to pay for James, Davis and the younger two Antetokounmpo brothers. It wouldn’t be the first time James accepted a smaller contract to help build a superteam (even if he disagreed with that characterization). He did so in 2010 with the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.”
It wouldn’t be hard to imagine James taking a massive pay cut to help the Lakers land Antetokounmpo in the 2021 NBA free agency. Though the Lakers currently own the best record in the Western Conference, they are still not the favorite to advance to the 2020 NBA Finals; their Staples Center co-tenants, the Los Angeles Clippers, are. Successfully acquiring Antetokounmpo would dramatically change that narrative.
Pairing Antetokounmpo with the superstar duo of James and Davis would tremendously improve the Lakers’ performance on both ends of the floor. As long as the three superstars are healthy, the Lakers would become the heavy favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the foreseeable futue. It would definitely be intriguing to see Antetokounmpo, James, and Davis all wearing the Purple and Gold, but a lot of things could still happen by the time the 2021 free agency window opens.
Also, the Lakers aren’t the only NBA team who is expected to express a strong interest in acquiring Antetokounmpo next summer. According to Pincus, other potential suitors for Antetokounmpo could include the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, and the Golden State Warriors.