Giannis hints his long-term future may not be in Milwaukee

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In the age of player empowerment, where stars often take the easy way out by joining all-powerful conglomerates comprised of mega-talents like Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo forged a new path, bucking the “super team” trend by bringing an NBA title to Milwaukee this past summer. In doing so, he became a hero, a champion of the NBA’s middle class, elevating a small-market team in a cold-weather city to national prominence without the help of a star-studded cavalry like the ones seen in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

Rather than call on reinforcements, Giannis decided to work with what he had, and the result was a triumph years in the making, the culmination of his remarkable ascension from a raw 18-year-old trying to get his bearings in a new country to a foundation piece on basketball’s best team. Antetokounmpo, whose five-year, $228-million contract runs through 2026, loves Milwaukee but wouldn’t commit to finishing his career there, relaying to GQ’s Zach Baron that he’s open to leaving the city that’s been his home since 2013.

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“I just love challenges. What’s the next challenge? The next challenge might not be here,” the 26-year-old admitted. “Me and my family chose to stay in this city that we all love and has taken care of us—for now. In two years, that might change.”

Stunned by this revelation, Baron followed up with Antetkounmpo’s agent, Alex Saratsis, who had this to say. “I don’t think it’s, ‘I’m thinking about leaving the Bucks,’” Saratsis explained. “But I think he’s genuinely like: ‘Okay, I have reached the pinnacle. The next challenge is, let’s repeat.’ But what happens if you do repeat? What’s the next challenge? What is that next barrier?”

Might Giannis, who previously dismissed the concept of super teams, be open to joining one later in his career, or perhaps building his own? “I will say I want to play with the best players; I wish K.D. was on my team, not against me. I wish LeBron was on my team, not against me. Steph, on my team,” said the five-time All-Star, who was recently named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. “I’m always honest. I love this city. I love this community. I want to help as much as possible.”

The defending champs have had a rough go of it to start the season, losing seven of their last 10, though Milwaukee has been shorthanded for much of that stretch, playing without Khris Middleton, who has been in the league’s COVID protocol since late October.

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