Raptors might not get a shot at Giannis

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The Toronto Raptors haven’t hidden their interest in Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri has wanted Antetokounmpo since the 2013 draft when he tried to trade up with the Oklahoma City Thunder to select the now 6-foot-11 ‘Greek Freak.’

On Monday, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps re-confirmed the Raptors’ interest in Antetokounmpo, writing: “Toronto’s interest in pursuing Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021 is no secret. Another deep playoff run would add to the sales pitch.”

The problem for the Raptors is Ujiri might never get a chance to truly pitch Antetokounmpo on Toronto.

If Antetokounmpo wants to stay in Milwaukee, the Bucks will have the first opportunity to re-sign their franchise superstar. The team is reportedly planning to offer Antetokounmpo a max contract extension at the earliest possible date this offseason. Originally that was supposed to be June 30, 2020, but with the season being pushed back that date will likely not be until the autumn. 

Lately, it sounds as though Antetokounmpo might take this path.

During an anti-black racism protest on Saturday, Antetokounmpo was seen passing out water bottles to protesters before taking over a megaphone to speak about the protests.

“I want my kid to grow up here in Milwaukee and not be scared to walk in the street,” Antetokounmpo said. “I want the city of Milwaukee to know I’m here.”

The context for these quotes was certainly more about the importance of safety and justice for black Americans than his potential upcoming 2021 free agency. It’s possible he got carried away speaking from the heart and could eventually leave Milwaukee, but his words could be telling about his NBA future, and Raptors fans might want to brace for that reality.