On one of the most thrilling days on the NBA calendar, the New York Knicks will be back in action at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day. The Athletic’s Shams Charania released the Christmas schedule on Thursday, and the Knicks are slated to host the Bucks in the day’s first game.
There was a lot of complaining from non-Knicks fans last year when it was known that New York would host Philadelphia on Christmas. The argument was that the NBA shouldn’t put the Knicks in the spotlight when they weren’t worthy of it, but there’s been none of that talk this year. New York finished as the No. 5 team in the East last season, and Milwaukee was the top team in the conference.
There’s nothing like MSG on Christmas, but the atmosphere could be even more electric for a two-time MVP-sized reason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo would be a dream trade target for the Knicks
Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a five-year supermax extension with the Bucks in December 2020, and since then, he’s led Milwaukee to its first NBA title in 50 years in 2021. Antetokounmpo is the face of the franchise, and the Bucks would love to sign him to another extension when he becomes eligible on Sept. 22, but it’s been rumored that he isn’t going to sign an extension.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said in April that it’s “unlikely” Antetokounmpo will sign an extension this offseason after Jimmy Butler and Miami eliminated Milwaukee in the playoffs.
Windhorst mentioned teams are watching the Bucks and Antetokounmpo “closely” this summer, and Knicks fans can bet that one of those teams is New York.
Another offseason is expected to go by without the Knicks making their big move for a star, but next summer could be when names like Joel Embiid or even Giannis hit the trade market. Being patient could pay off hugely for Leon Rose and the front office.
By the time Christmas rolls around, Antetokounmpo will either have signed an extension with Milwaukee or not. Depending on how the Bucks’ season is going at the end of December, the Antetokounmpo trade rumors could already be floating around. It’s still too early to tell.
Regardless, the Knicks hosting Giannis and the Bucks at the Garden on Christmas is enough reason for plenty of excitement alone. The stakes could be even higher once the calendar hits Dec. 25.