Giannis Antetokounmpo’s THREAT to exit Bucks is ‘typical’ Kobe Bryant move, suggests Gilbert Arenas
Giannis Antetokounmpo mimics Kobe Bryant's 2007 strategy, according to Gilbert Arenas.
Gilbert Arenas (L- Larry Brown Sports), Kobe Bryant and Giannis Antetokounmpo (R- CNN)
The recent playoff upset for the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks has led to widespread speculation about the future of their star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Drawing comparisons with basketball legend Kobe Bryant, former NBA player Gilbert Arenas said that Giannis is strategically placing himself as Bryant did in 2007 to ensure the team’s commitment to victory.
The Bucks were eliminated from the first round of the 2023 playoffs by the Miami Heat in just five games. Following this unexpected defeat, eyes quickly turned to “The Greek Freak”, questioning his future with the organization. Arenas weighed in, suggesting Giannis is taking a page out of Kobe’s playbook.
“He’s doing what Kobe did,” Arenas said. “‘What are we doing? Are we on the same page before I sign this thing, what are we doing here? I don’t want to be Allen Iverson! I don’t want to be Charles Barkley! Even though I got a ring, I want to win multiple because that’s what the legacy is built on.”
Arenas added,“So, before I sign, we need to all sit down and make sure we’re all going in the same direction!’ And, people don’t understand that when Kobe signed his extension and then they got rid of the team, that’s when he said in 2007, ‘I want a trade!'”
In 2007, Kobe Bryant requested a trade because he was dissatisfied with the Lakers’ direction. Although the Lakers had a decent season, they faced an early playoff exit. Bryant’s vocal dissatisfaction led to a complete change in the Lakers’ strategy, resulting in them trading for Pau Gasol. This move paid off as the Lakers won back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010.
A potential game-changing trade for the Milwaukee Bucks
As rumors about Antetokounmpo’s uncertainty with the Bucks grow louder, suggestions on potential solutions have started coming in. Gilbert Arenas, not shy of expressing his ideas, made a suggestion that might completely change the situation: trading for Portland’s Damian Lillard.
“You are gonna basically add Jrue and Middleton in the package for whoever,” Arenas said. “Now, whoever, let’s say they do that for Dame. Is Dame and Giannis good enough to win the Championship? Your number two and your number three, like unless you get two pieces back, that can really.”
Lillard’s outstanding 2022-23 season averages of 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists undoubtedly make a strong case. Although Lillard had shown interest in joining the Miami Heat, the prospect of teaming up with Giannis in Milwaukee could be equally attractive.
In the coming weeks, the Bucks’ front office will undoubtedly face pressure to build around their star player. Whether they take Arenas’s advice or choose to go their own way, the next few months will be crucial in defining the future of the franchise and potentially the legacy of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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