Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer indicated that the Clippers are one of a number of NBA teams likely to try to trade for the reigning league Most Valuable Player. In the Clippers’ favor is the reported respect that Antetokounmpo has for Doc Rivers.
“Take the Clippers, for example: Multiple league sources have recently said the Clippers plan to pursue a deal for Giannis,” O’Connor wrote. “One of the sources said Giannis has an ‘admiration’ for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.”
Antetokounmpo could become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, at which point any team would at least have the opportunity to sign him without giving up players in exchange.
Speculation about Antetokounmpo leaving the Bucks rose considerably after the team was eliminated on Tuesday by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.
While Antetokounmpo could be experiencing doubt about the Bucks’ future chances of winning a championship, he’s yet to indicate if he plans to stay with the team beyond next season.
However, if Antetokounmpo states that he won’t re-sign with the Bucks during the offseason, it seems almost assured that the team will trade him in order to get talent in return.
Exactly what talent the Clippers would have to give up to make such a deal is unknown. Still, if the team does manage to pull a trade off, it would presumably give them a trio of stars in Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
For now, the Clippers’ main focus is on winning this season’s championship, with Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets set for Wednesday night.