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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

3 dark-horse teams Giannis Antetokounmpo can request a trade to

Before anything else, let’s make one thing clear: Giannis Antetokounmpo is fully expected to sign a record-breaking max extension with the Milwaukee Bucks in the offseason.

The Bucks have already confirmed that they intend to offer him a supermax deal (they even got fined for it at one point), and for his part, Giannis Antetokounmpo himself has indicated on several occasions that his loyalty lies with Milwaukee.

However, as we have seen many times in the past, things can change in a blink of an eye. Until the soon-to-be back-to-back MVP puts pen to paper, then anything can still happen.

The fact that the Bucks ended their season in disappointment yet again puts a huge question mark on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future with the franchise. Does he all of a sudden start thinking about whether or not this is the right team for him? Perhaps most importantly, can he win a championship in Milwaukee?

If for some reason Giannis decides to call time on his stint with the Bucks, then he would be in a position to choose his next team. There’s no denying that he deserves to be in that position.

There will be no shortage of suitors for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s signature, with several teams in the league in serious contention for the acquisition of arguably the best player in the league today. However, there are also a few dark horses. Teams that are not considered to be potential favorites for Giannis, but could somehow shock the sporting world by making a rather improbable run at the newly-crowned Defensive Player of the Year winner. Here are three of them.

New York Knicks

Despite how their franchise may be in shambles, and regardless of the fact that the team is still owned by one James Dolan, the New York Knicks will always be in the mix. Why? Because they’re the New York Knicks.

For Giannis Antetokounmpo, playing for one of the most prominent franchises in all of sport might be an alluring prospect. The Knicks have been through some dark, dark years, and he could serve as their knight in shining armor. To have the Madison Square Garden as your home floor isn’t too bad as well.

The Knicks could package a deal centering on Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, who are both still young enough to serve as centerpiece prospects of the future for Milwaukee. New York’s eighth overall pick in the 2020 draft will also be thrown in, and so will one or two future draft picks.

The Knicks have every intention of going for a big-name free agent in the 2021 offseason, and they would be in a prime position to do so with Giannis Antetokounmpo at the helm.

San Antonio Spurs

The Brooklyn Nets were rumored to be in the running for long-serving San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, but by the looks of things, coach Pop will be staying in San Antonio.

For Giannis Antetokounmpo, a move to the Spurs presents a tremendous opportunity to play for the legendary Gregg Popovich. There are few coaches in the league right now, if any, that hold the credentials and the reputation Pop has, so if Giannis Antetokounmpo were looking to learn from the best, then he need not look elsewhere.

The Spurs have a winning culture, and they’ve proven time and time again that they have the capability to build a championship-caliber side — factors that are extremely important for Giannis Antetokounmpo need at this point in his career.

The Spurs will likely need to send a package of DeMar DeRozan, Lonnie Walker IV, Luka Samanic, their 2020 first-rounder, and another future first round pick. DeRozan can still serve as a centerpiece for the Bucks, while Walker and Samanic are very promising prospects for the future.

Los Angeles Lakers

Seriously? Giannis Antetokounmpo joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Los Angeles Lakers? Yes. Why not?

If a championship turns out to be the top priority in Antetokounmpo’s mind then joining the Lakers would be his best bet. Linking three of the best players in the league today instantly makes LA a heavy favorite for the title.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is still just 25, so a move to Hollywood proposes a couple of viable options. He could always do a Kevin Durant and part ways with the Lakers after winning one or two championships. Alternatively, he could serve as LA’s new cornerstone superstar once LeBron calls it a career in a few years’ time. Even without James, a Davis and Giannis one-two punch is still enough to contend for the title every single year.

In return, the Bucks get Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and a slew of future draft picks. This might not be the most attractive package for them, but it at least puts them in a prime position for a soft rebuild.