Giannis Reportedly Named Bradley Beal 'a Desirable Target for the Bucks'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dribbles the ball against Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, in Washington. The Bucks won 131-115. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Washington Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal was among the players Giannis Antetokounmpo reportedly asked the Milwaukee Bucks to look into acquiring this offseason.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Kevin Arnovitz, Giannis identified Beal as a "desirable target."

While no Beal trade materialized, the Bucks did land another player who was reportedly on Antetokounmpo's list in former New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.

Giannis was apparently pleased enough with the Bucks' improvements this offseason that he opted to sign a five-year, $228 million supermax extension this week.

Beal undoubtedly would have been a huge addition for Milwaukee because of his development into an elite offensive guard over the past few seasons.

The 27-year-old is coming off a career year in which he averaged 30.5 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 three-pointers made per game, all of which were career highs. He also contributed 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest.

Instead of trading Beal, who is signed through at least the 2021-22 season, the Wizards traded John Wall and a future first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook, who played under head coach Scott Brooks with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Antetokounmpo and Beal may have made the Bucks the clear favorites in the Eastern Conference, but instead they are one of a handful of teams in the East with a legitimate chance to go all the way, including the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.

In Holiday, the Bucks added a 2013 All-Star who has played at close to an All-Star level in recent years, especially on the defensive end.

After averaging a career-high 21.2 points, 7.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game in 2018-19, Holiday put up 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and a career-high 2.0 three-pointers made per game last season.

Now, the Bucks have a strong core comprised of Giannis, Holiday and Khris Middleton, which may finally be enough to get them over the hump and into the NBA Finals.

The road won't be easy, though, as the Heat are the reigning Eastern Conference champs, the Raptors won the NBA championship in 2019, the Nets will deploy a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and the Celtics boast arguably the deepest team in the conference.

Even so, Giannis clearly has a great deal of confidence in the team the Bucks front office has put together, and the two-time reigning NBA MVP is committed to going for a championship over the next several years.