Every Non-Bubble Team's Best Trade Package for Giannis Antetokounmpo
While the Milwaukee Bucks should be solely focused on winning the 2019-20 championship, an offseason of uncertainty will revolve around star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo if they don't.
Set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason of 2021, Antetokounmpo has done nothing to indicate any unhappiness in Milwaukee, especially with the team's regular-season success thus far. Attitudes can change quickly in the NBA, however, and failing to win a title this season could impact Antetokounmpo's thoughts on his future.
For the eight teams not in the bubble near Orlando, Florida, the offseason has already begun. This means roster evaluations, draft preparations, free agents proposal work and, yes, even trade talks. The time to come up with potential trade offers for Antetokounmpo isn't after he seems unhappy—it's now.
For some of the following eight teams, it's worth throwing a package of draft picks and players together, especially if they're in an attractive free-agent market. Gutting young talent for Antetokounmpo knowing he can walk in free agency after just one season may be too risky for others, however.
If the Bucks get to a point where they're ready to listen to offers for their MVP forward (a time that may never come), these are the best trade packages the eight teams that have already begun they're offseason can present.
Best Trade Offer: PF John Collins, F Cam Reddish, F De'Andre Hunter, C Dewayne Dedmon for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
Few teams (if any) possess more young talent than the Hawks.
As good as Antetokounmpo is, Atlanta isn't including Trae Young in a trade for anyone about to hit free agency, even an MVP in his mid-20s. Keeping Young off the table doesn't mean the Hawks couldn't still make a grand offer, however.
Collins is a logical starting point, a 22-year-old power forward that would slide in immediately as a starter for Milwaukee. He's a far better outside shooter than Antetokounmpo (40.1 percent on 3.6 attempts per game) and is averaging career highs in points (21.6), rebounds (10.1) and blocks (1.6) while making 58.3 percent of his field-goal attempts. While his defense is far, far below Antetokounmpo's level, Collins will be a restricted free agent in 2021, giving the Bucks the chance to match any deal he receives and keep him in Milwaukee long term.
Reddish should intrigue the Bucks as well. The 2019 No. 10 pick that was coming on strong before the NBA went on hiatus in March. While the 20-year-old rookie's season stats don't jump off the page (10.5 points on 38.4 percent shooting), Reddish is an elite athlete with great size on the wing. Over his last 21 games, Reddish was giving the Hawks 14.6 points on 41.7 percent shooting from three, an area that was viewed as a negative coming out of college.
Hunter, the 2019 No. 4 pick, doesn't have the ceiling of Reddish but is a polished multi-positional threat on both sides of the ball. He's started all but one game for the Hawks as a rookie and could thrive using Khris Middleton as a mentor.
For the Hawks, this trade is probably worth the risk of Antetokounmpo leaving, given how good a core of Young, Antetokounmpo, Kevin Huerter and Clint Capela could be, especially with cap space to use this summer.
Best Trade Offer: PF P.J. Washington, SF Miles Bridges, G Terry Rozier, 2020 and 2022 first-round picks for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Hornets are going to have to start putting some draft picks on the table before talking trades for any superstar, given the lack of young talent on the roster.
Washington would interest Milwaukee the most, as the rookie power forward has been surprisingly good for being a late lottery pick. The 21-year-old averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and just under a steal and block a game this season, proving himself to be a reliable floor-spacer with a 37.4 percent mark from three.
If Washington is prize 1A, then Bridges is 1B.
The former Michigan State star is a versatile athlete at 6'6" and averaged 13.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.7 blocks as the team's starting small forward. He'd be an excellent sixth man behind Khris Middleton while rounding out his overall skill set.
Rozier, a former tormentor of Milwaukee from his playoff seasons with the Boston Celtics, now joins Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt.
While the trio of players would help the Bucks, there would need to be multiple first-round picks included to even come close to matching other team's offers. Charlotte is projected to have a top-10 pick in the 2020 draft and would likely need to throw in a 2022 first as well.
This would leave the Hornets with a core of Antetokounmpo, Devonte' Graham, Cody Zeller, Malik Monk and Nicolas Batum (player option). Even with Antetokounmpo, that team still doesn't project as one of the best in the East, much less a Finals contender. While the Atlanta Hawks would have enough leftover talent to take the risk, Charlotte should keep its draft picks and pull out of any potential Antetokounmpo trade race.
Best Trade Offer: PF Lauri Markkanen, C Wendell Carter Jr., G Coby White and PF Thaddeus Young for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Bulls could present two different trade offers to the Bucks, one either centered around a proven star in Zach LaVine, or another focused on the team's younger, more unproven talent. Assuming Chicago wants to contend as soon as possible and keep LaVine, it would mean nearly gutting the roster of prospects.
When healthy, Carter is one of the best young centers in the NBA. The 21-year-old projects as a terrific defender and averaged 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks on 53.4 percent shooting this season. With Brook Lopez on the backside of his career at age 32, Carter could take over the starting job sooner rather than later.
Markkanen would likely become the Bucks' starting power forward, a 23-year-old 7-footer that can space the floor and dribble-drive. He regressed in his third season following a breakout sophomore season and could benefit from Mike Budenholzer's coaching.
White looks more like a high-usage scoring guard instead of a true floor general, and the Bucks could use him alongside Eric Bledsoe in the starting lineup. The No. 7 pick in 2019, White averaged 26.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists and shot 43.2 percent from three overall his final nine games.
Chicago would be left with a core of Antetokounmpo, LaVine, Otto Porter Jr. and Tomas Satoransky. While the group contains two players averaging over 25 points per game, there's little depth left or potential for long-term growth that could convince Antetokounmpo to stay. Unless the Bulls are confident they could bring in a third star in free agent in 2021, they'd be wise to pass on a trade here.
Best Trade Offer: G Collin Sexton, G Kevin Porter Jr., PF Kevin Love and 2022 first-round pick (via Milwaukee Bucks) for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo and PF Ersan Ilyasova
The Cavs' best trade offer would depend on what direction the Bucks were going.
If Milwaukee still wanted to contend around a core of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo, then it should be happy to take on Kevin Love to fill the new power forward hole. If his three-year, $91.5 million remaining contract seems like too much, the Cavs could substitute Andre Drummond and his expiring $28.8 million deal (assuming he picks up his player option).
Love's floor spacing and rebounding could help keep the Bucks in title contention, and Sexton averaged 20.8 points per game in his second season. He could start alongside Bledsoe or become one of the league's best sixth men.
Porter may have the highest ceiling of any young Cavalier, including that of Sexton or Darius Garland. A 6'5" combo guard who can play on or off the ball, Porter has star written all over him with the right development.
Cleveland picked up a Bucks first-rounder in a 2018 trade for George Hill, one they'd be returning here.
For the Cavaliers, Antetokounmpo would be joining Drummond, Garland, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and a top 2020 draft pick to form an interesting team in the East. Cleveland would destroy teams on the glass, but the lack of talent in the backcourt could be a problem, unless the team landed a player like LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards in the draft.
With the Cavs' history of superstars entering free agency, however, trading for Antetokounmpo would probably just end in disappointment.
Best Trade Offer: PF Blake Griffin, PG Derrick Rose, G/F Luke Kennard, 2020 and 2022 first-round picks for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo, G George Hill and PF Ersan Ilyasova
Like with the Cleveland Cavaliers and their overpriced yet talented power forward, this offer from Detroit would depend on the Bucks interest in Blake Griffin.
Assuming Milwaukee would want to contend and take a chance on the oft-injured Griffin, the Bucks could still be one of the best teams in the East if the six-time All-Star returns to his 2018-19 form.
Rose has proved to be one of the best sixth men in basketball following a season with averages of 18.1 points and 5.6 assists. He's on a bargain contract of $7.7 million for next year and could be easily flipped to a contender should the Bucks' season go south.
Kennard, 24, is a career 40.2 percent shooter from three and averaged 15.8 points per game in his third pro season.
While Griffin could still turn out to be an excellent player, his contract means the Pistons would likely have to throw in some draft picks as well. They have a 10.5 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, per Tankathon, and a 42.1 percent to land a selection in the top four.
Including this (and a 2022 first-rounder) would make their offer a little more competitive, although that leaves just Antetokounmpo, Hill and Ilyasova to try to contend with a roster of Sekou Doumbouya, Tony Snell (if he picks up his player option) and Bruce Brown.
While the trade would at least clear some major cap space even if Antetokounmpo left in free agency, sacrificing two crucial draft picks means the Pistons should probably shy away.
Golden State Warriors
Best Trade Offer: PF Draymond Green, PF Eric Paschall, SG Jordan Poole, 2020 first-round pick, 2021 first-round pick (top-3 protected in 2021 and unprotected in 2022, via Minnesota Timberwolves) for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
While other non-bubble teams are in their rebuilding stage and shouldn't gut the roster for a player with one year left on his deal, the Warriors are quite the opposite.
Golden State has the roster, draft picks and market to not only assemble a terrific trade package for Antetokounmpo, but also get him to agree to stay as well.
Assuming Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are off the table in trade talks, the Warriors would have to either use Andrew Wiggins or Green as the base of a deal. Again assuming the Bucks want to stay in win-now mode, Green makes more sense for their roster as a starting power forward that defends, rebounds and sets the offensive table for others.
The Warriors also own two of the most coveted draft picks of any team—their own 2020 first and the Timberwolves' 2021 top-three protected first-round pick.
Golden State is tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Timberwolves for the best odds at the No. 1 pick in 2020, which means the Bucks could be getting LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman in return.
If the Warriors can get Antetokounmpo while still keeping Curry and Thompson, it doesn't matter how many draft picks and players they have to give up.
Best Trade Offer: G/F Jarrett Culver, SG Josh Okogie, PF James Johnson, 2020 first-round pick (lottery-protected, via Brooklyn Nets) and own 2020, 2023 and 2025 first-round picks for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
If the Wolves want to create a Big Three of Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell and Antetokounmpo, they'll need to part with a load of draft picks, even after previously giving up a 2021 first for Russell.
The trade offer does nothing for the Bucks in the short term and is a move they'd likely only consider if a rebuild seems inevitable.
Culver, the No. 6 pick in 2019, can play shooting guard and small forward and even handle the ball for stretches. After a slow start to his rookie season, the 21-year-old averaged 10.6 points on 51.2 percent shooting overall and 46.7 percent from three over his last 10 games.
Okogie, 21, is another multi-positional wing with upside, and Johnson has an expiring $16 million contract (assuming he picks up his player option).
This trade is primarily about the picks, however.
Minnesota is tied for the best odds at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft and would be including additional firsts in 2023 and 2025 (or 2024 and 2026, depending on when its first-round pick is conveyed to the Golden State Warriors from the Andrew Wiggins/Russell trade).
If the Timberwolves can get Milwaukee to agree on some sort of protections on the future firsts, pairing Antetokounmpo with Towns and Russell would be a core worth taking a risk on.
New York Knicks
Best Trade Offer: C Mitchell Robinson, PF Julius Randle, F Kevin Knox II, 2020 first-round pick and 2021 first-round pick (via Dallas Mavericks) for PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
The star-hungry Knicks finally have some draft picks stocked up to pull off a major deal.
While Knicks fans are typically obsessed with Robinson, it would likely take either he or RJ Barrett to form a serious offer. With Antetokounmpo already bringing rim protection and rebounding to the table, New York should try to keep Barrett instead.
Randle would help make up for some of the offense left by Antetokounmpo at power forward, and it would only be a matter of time before Robinson takes the starting job from Brook Lopez.
Knox, a lottery pick in 2018, could better reach his potential with Mike Budenholzer's guidance, and the Bucks should ask for Frank Ntilikina for the same reasons.
The Knicks have the sixth-worst record in the NBA, meaning a top draft pick in 2020 is waiting. Overall, it would be a good haul for the Bucks.
New York would be left with a core of Antetokounmpo, Barrett, Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton, with some serious cap space coming in 2021. While the chance to get a player like Antetokounmpo would be tempting, New York would be better off keeping its top draft pick this year and trying to lure proven talent in 2021, this time with a better young core and draft-pick collection.