Brian Windhorst gets Knicks fans unreasonably excited with Giannis Antetokounmpo speculation

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks in action against Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2022 in New York City. The Bucks defeated the Knicks 109-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks in action against Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2022 in New York City. The Bucks defeated the Knicks 109-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Hey Windy, read the room! The New York Knicks are participating in a conference semifinal playoff series for the first time in over a decade and are generally happy with the roster. Fans don’t need any distraction at the moment to shift their focus!

On Friday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst made his rounds on TV, appearing on both “Get Up!” and “First Take” to talk basketball, and specifically what’s going on with the Milwaukee Bucks.

On Thursday, the Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer just two years after he brought a title to the city of Milwaukee for the first time since the 1970-1971 season. But that’s life in the NBA when you get bounced in the first round of the postseason to a No. 8 seed.

Naturally, the next topic of discussion landed on two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is under contract for two more years but is eligible for a lucrative extension this offseason. Windhorst, in navigating the conversation from Budenholzer to the future of the Bucks, landed on Giannis’ outlook based on everything that’s transpired.

And, of course, he made a link to the Knicks, suggesting the front office is monitoring the situation with the Bucks.

Knicks Rumors: Brian Windhorst loosely links Giannis Antetokounmpo to New York

Now, there are a lot of things that could influence Giannis’ possible departure from Milwaukee. We wouldn’t say it’s likely, but it’s certainly not impossible. And as Windhorst noted, Budenholzer was the “first domino to fall.”

First and foremost, the Bucks need to find a new head coach, and that kind of turnover is never without its obstacles. What if there aren’t any options that entice Giannis and he doesn’t feel compelled to sign an extension between the start of free agency and September?

Next is the roster construction. Milwaukee’s at a bit of a crossroads. Brook Lopez, Jae Crowder, Joe Ingles, Wesley Matthews, Goran Dragić, Meyers Leonard and Thanasis Antetokounmpo are slated to be unrestricted free agents. Khris Middleton has a hefty player option ($40.4 million), but might he decline it for a long-term deal after another disappointing playoff exit?

Should the Bucks re-sign Lopez and Middleton, they’ll have an extremely tight salary cap situation with an aging roster that’s failed to get beyond the conference semifinals since winning it all back in 2021. And it doesn’t help they don’t have a first-round pick in this year’s draft to surround Giannis with premier young talent should they go in a different direction to either save money or reload for next offseason when there’s a much more stacked free agent class. Would Giannis approve either of those scenarios?

Any change in organizational philosophy would likely require Giannis’ approval in the form of a longer-term commitment. If he’s not willing to do that, the Bucks could take the route of trading him to recoup as much value in return, as we’ve seen happen across the league in recent years with players like Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, Dejounte Murray, Paul George, etc.

If that’s the case … well .. the Knicks have compiled assets for years and possess one of the deeper rosters in the league. They’d undoubtedly have enough to satiate Milwaukee in trade talks should it reach that point.

But again, nobody should be worried about that now. The Knicks face the Heat in Game 3 on Saturday. This can wait until the official start of the offseason.