Since the 2019 offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have been dreaming of adding a third superstar that would enable them to form their own “Big Three” with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They currently don’t have enough salary cap space and trade assets to go after another big acquisition, but that isn’t expected to stop them from expressing interest once a superstar becomes available on the market. Like most teams, one of the dream targets for the Lakers in the 2021 free agency is reigning Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
According to Sam Quinn of CBS Sports, the Lakers have been “stealthily recruiting” Antetokounmpo for over a year. They purposely maintained their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2021, signed Kostas Antetokounmpo to a two-way contract, and hired Jason Kidd as their top assistant with the goal of chasing Giannis when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, as Quinn noted, in order to form a “Big Three” in Los Angeles, the “Greek Freak” isn’t the only one who will be needing to make financial sacrifices in the 2021 free agency. James and Davis will, also.
“The path here, essentially, relies on LeBron, A.D. and Giannis all taking pay cuts. That’s not exactly likely. LeBron, a former NBPA vice president, has made a point of always taking the max since 2014 so other superstars wouldn’t be pressured to sacrifice. Davis and Giannis are both in their primes and have both already lost money due to the virus. They aren’t taking cuts for this.”
Antetokounmpo would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Lakers. The successful acquisition of Antetokounmpo would not only give the Purple and Gold another generational talent on their roster, but also one of the best two-way players in the league. His potential arrival in Los Angeles would tremendously improve the Lakers’ performance on both ends of the floor, giving them a very reliable scoring option, rebounder, facilitator, and lockdown defender.
This season, the 25-year-old power forward averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.0 steal while shooting 55.3 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. Aside from strengthening the Lakers’ chances of winning multiple NBA championship titles, Antetokounmpo, together with AD, could also bridge the gap to the next era of Lakers’ basketball when James permanently ends his career.
However, as of now, acquiring Antetokounmpo may just be a pipe dream for the Lakers. Despite suffering a huge disappointment this year, he already said that he has no intention of leaving the Bucks. Even if he decides to part ways with the Bucks in the summer of 2021, he is highly likely to sign with a legitimate title contender that can afford to give him a max contract in free agency.