The NBA usually sees a power shift at the top once every four to five seasons and we may see another one this offseason as rumors are growing of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo moving on to a new team, potentially for next season.
After the Bucks were ousted in the second round by the Miami Heat, falling short of winning the NBA championship again, the best basketball betting sites have Giannis pulling a “Kevin Durant” and going to the team that beat him, with the Heat as +300 favorites to be his next team.
Following the Heat are the Toronto Raptors (+400), New Orleans Pelicans (+500), New York Knicks (+700) and Philadelphia 76ers (+750) to round out the top five teams on the oddsboard.
Before we get into the teams the Greek Freak could go play for, an important disclaimer: Giannis Antetokounmpo is NOT a free agent this offseason. Any team on this list would need to facilitate a trade to acquire his services for the 2020-21 campaign. This prop simply considers the next team he’ll play for, assuming he moves on from the Bucks.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the full betting odds for which team Giannis could play for next, with analysis below:
|New Orleans Pelicans||+500|
|New York Knicks||+700|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+900|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1000|
|Golden State Warriors||+1100|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+2000|
Odds as of September 9 at BetOnline Sportsbook
Why The Heat Are The Favorite
Culture, roster assets and lifestyle are just some of the factors that make the Miami Heat an attractive option for any NBA free agent or superstar looking to augment their winning portfolio. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the best record in the NBA this season and is favored to win his second straight NBA MVP Award but a player of his stature isn’t in this for regular-season accolades.
Giannis has said many times in interviews that winning is the ultimate priority for him, and given how the Bucks roster is currently constructed, he doesn’t have enough complementary weapons to help him when the “Giannis Wall” defense is implemented. Sure, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton are fine players but none of them are quality No. 2 options and all are on bloated contracts that make them nearly impossible to move for other assets.
If Giannis eventually goes to play with the Heat, it shouldn’t shock bettors at this stage because this is what NBA superstars do: they go to the best possible situation to win AND live their life. It’s unclear how loyal Antetokounmpo is to the city of Milwaukee but if the recent history of player transactions is any indication, he could be out the door sooner than you think.
If the Bucks get any inclination that he won’t sign a $250-million supermax contract, they have to move immediately to ensure they don’t get hung out to dry and at least get assets in return.
Teams To Keep An Eye On
There are two teams that are wild cards in this scenario that have the assets to acquire Giannis but don’t have to gut the roster to still put a championship squad on the floor. Those two teams are the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.
The Raptors may not have the superstar trade assets of other teams to throw at Milwaukee but they have tons of good role players who are valuable and would be very enticing to the Bucks. Players like OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet all have the playoff experience and talent that may be enough to move the needle to acquire Giannis.
That being said, it kind of depends on what the Bucks want in return and if Giannis even wants to go to Toronto. There are plenty of rumors but nothing on record and if Milwaukee wants Pascal Siakam, Masai Ujiri would likely hang up the phone before they got “Pas–” out of their mouths.
At +400, the odds aren’t great but the “Giannis to the Raptors” rumor has been around for a while now. Sometimes the most obvious answer is staring us right in the face.
Golden State Warriors
If the Warriors want one last kick at the can to reform their dynasty, acquiring Giannis Antetokounmpo would be an easy way to get there. The Warriors would likely have to part ways with Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and their second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft but that’s the price you pay when you want the reigning MVP on your squad.
Giannis would be so scary on a team like the Warriors that would still have two of the best shooters of all time in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In the postseason, defenses haven’t respected Giannis’s shooting, simply hanging back in the key waiting for him to do the north-south drive to the rim. With Steph and Klay on the wings, the “Wall” would collapse because if he kicked it out to them for three, it would be automatic.
At +1100, this is the dark-horse team bettors should be worried about. Giannis would immediately vault the Warriors to favorite status for the 2021 NBA championship.