Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers were reportedly the “secret team” for landing Giannis

Trail Blazers

There was plenty of chatter surrounding a potential next chapter for MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

When Antetokounmpo didn't immediately sign his extension when Milwaukee offered it at the start of free agency back on November 20, that had many Bucks fan fears that he may leave Milwaukee next offseason as a free agent. 

That was before the announcement last week that the two-time MVP signed a five-year supermax deal to stay with the Bucks.

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But now we know that there were talks between Antetokounmpo and a Portland superstar.

Antetokounmpo and Trail Blazers five-time All-Star Damian Lillard had discussed teaming up in Portland.

As reported by Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, the Trail Blazers were the "secret" team that potentially could have landed Giannis had he not signed his supermax with the Bucks.

In Haynes’ latest podcast, ‘Posted Up with Chris Haynes,’ the NBA Insider explains how the two small market superstars had talked about what it would be like for Giannis to make his way to Rip City. 

 

This most recent podcast focused on the start of the 2020-21 NBA season and other offseason storylines.

But it didn’t take long for Haynes and Vincent Goodwill, Yahoo Sports Senior NBA writer, to discuss the “secret team” of landing the Bucks superstar.

After just five minutes into the episode, Haynes opened up about Lillard being the main reason for Giannis’ consideration of Portland.

“If the [Bucks] didn’t make the necessary moves to make Giannis feel comfortable, I believe there was a team that he would have considered leaving for, and that team is the Portland Trail Blazers,” Haynes said.

Sources have told me that Giannis and Damian Lillard, they’ve gotten really close over the last few months. And they were talking about working out together.

Chris Haynes on the Posted Up podcast

That may not sound like much at first, but Haynes explains the significance around the workouts.

“I want to explain how important that is to people out there,” Haynes said. “Giannis doesn’t workout with anybody that’s not on his team.  He doesn’t do that. He’s turned down workouts with LeBron James and turned down being part of the Space Jam 2 movie. He doesn’t do that. Him and Dame were supposed to work out.”

Haynes went on to say, “I’m trying to be careful how I’m saying this, I don’t want to get to saying it’s recruiting. But I think sources have told me that both of them were talking with each other about the possibility of what it would look like playing with each other, you know, when their contracts allowed so. I believe Dame was trying to tell Giannis about what it would look like him playing in Portland and same, vice versa -- Giannis trying to tell him what it would look like him playing in Milwaukee.”

Haynes also explained that since the NBA started the season sooner than expected with the Dec. 22 start date, Giannis and Dame didn’t find the time to workout together this offseason.

 

Now that Antetokounmpo is coming off back-to-back MVP seasons, he joined Stephen Curry, LeBron James (2x), Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell as the only players in league history to win back-to-back MVP honors.

Haynes also noted the various similarities between  Lillard and Antetokounmpo and how they are both devoted to their teams.

The loyalty is real between Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee and Lillard and Portland.

But Haynes made it real clear that the Blazers were a real consideration for the Greek Freak.

If Milwaukee didn’t get things in order, Portland was going to be a real target.

Chris Haynes

Haynes noted that this move wouldn’t have been looked at as forming a superteam but, instead, these two teaming up and wanting to win in a small market, the NBA world would’ve respected it.

And Rip City would’ve been ecstatic, to say the least. 

Listen to the entire Pulled Up Podcast here.