On September 27, the Milwaukee Bucks shook the NBA by acquiring Damian Lillard via a three-team trade. The deal gives Milwaukee one of the best duos in the NBA and firmly establishes them as potential championship candidates. Giannis Antetokounmpo now has the superstar teammate he was craving.
Shortly after the deal was announced, Justin Termine of NBA Radio shared that Giannis had previously vetoed(2019) a deal to acquire Jimmy Butler during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Butler ended up joining the Miami Heat and has since proven himself to be one of the better forwards in the NBA.
Butler also led his Heat team to the NBA Finals last season. Giannis vetoed the deal because it would have involved sending Khris Middleton to Minnesota.
"Former Bucks Big Man John Henson told us on @SiriusXMNBA that the Bucks called Giannis to ask if he wanted to deal Khris Middleton for Jimmy Butler when Butler was unhappy in Minnesota," Termine posted. "According to Henson, Giannis vetoed the deal. A story I had not heard."
Giannis and Middleton will get a fresh opportunity to challenge for an NBA championship alongside Damian Lillard.
The veteran superstar will ensure Milwaukee is one of the best teams in the league despite their top-heavy roster construction and lack of high-level depth.
The Milwaukee Bucks are all in on Giannis Antetokounmpo and being a title contending team
Earlier this summer, Giannis Antetokounmpo noted how he wasn't guaranteed to sign a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The superstar forward wanted the front office to prove that they were committed to building a contending team around him before committing his future to the franchise.
"I would not be the best version of myself if I don't know that everybody's on the same page, everybody's going for a championship, everybody's going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do," Antetokounmpo said in an interview with the New York Times, "And if I don't feel that, I'm not signing."
"At the end of the day, I feel like all my teammates know and the organization knows that I want to win a championship. As long as we're on the same page with that and you show me and we go together to win a championship, I'm all for it. The moment I feel like, 'Oh, yeah, we're trying to rebuild' ... there will never be hard feelings with the Milwaukee Bucks."
By trading Jrue Holiday and acquiring Damian Lillard, Milwaukee has made a grand gesture toward Giannis, clearly showing their desire to keep him with the franchise long-term.
The move to add Lillard is a smart roll of the dice that should see both superstars embracing a new style of play as they look to dominate the NBA for the next few seasons and add some championship rings to their resumes.