Giannis Antetokounmpo helped recruit Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver to Bucks
Players recruiting players is part of the free agency process now. LeBron James had dinner with Anthony Davis not long before AD’s trade demand. Draymond Green was texting Kevin Durant after the 2016 Finals. Spencer Dinwiddie was chatting up Kyrie Irving around a marketing class they took together.
That was not a game Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted to play, the reigning MVP told Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
However, with Malcolm Brogdon heading to Indiana this summer (in a sign-and-trade), the Greek Freak knew he needed to get some help on the roster. So, he took to recruiting.
First up was Wesley Matthews, and the pitch was that he was a great player who deserved to win a ring, and that could happen in Milwaukee.
Next up was Kyle Korver, but the sharpshooter required more coaxing. The two spoke on the phone but Antetokounmpo felt like he had not gotten through. Antetokounmpo went on with his training, where he was scheduled to go to the Peak Performance Project (P3), a legendary sports science company in Santa Barbara, Calif. It was there Antetokounmpo ran into Korver — Antetokounmpo says by accident, he didn’t know they would both be there — and it allowed him to recruit in person.
Korver eventually signed with the Bucks.
During the regular season that has paid off — Matthews starts and plays an important defensive role — with the Bucks in charge of the East and on pace to win 70 games. Those things, however, are not the goal. Matthews and Korver need to make some plays on the bigger stages coming in May (and, they hope, June).
Whatever happens, expect Antetokounmpo to pick up the phone and make some calls in the future, too. This is how business gets done in today’s NBA.