The Giannis Antetokounmpo sweepstakes will be theoretically in full swing for as long as the Milwaukee Bucks superstar holds off on signing the supermax extension only the Bucks can offer him. The team made some big moves already this offseason to convince their franchise cornerstone they're all-in, most notably trading a huge package of picks and players for Jrue Holiday. But Giannis still hasn't signed the extension, so the rumor mill will continue to churn about his immediate future and where he could end up if not in Milwaukee.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been even busier than the Bucks during their brief offseason following an NBA title won in Orlando. They've replaced four important rotation players from the 2019-20 season with a new crop of veterans and seem poised to turn out an even better team in 2021. One thing they have not done is sign Anthony Davis to a long-term deal. Davis opted out of the final year of his contract earlier this offseason to presumably sign a nice new big one with the Lakers, who helped deliver the ring he was searching for when he asked to be traded from New Orleans.
And don't get it twisted: Davis will be re-signing with the Lakers. Why he's waiting this long, though, is worth monitoring. It could just be some cap sheet maneuvering by the Lakers, waiting to officially sign him until they can get the other acquisitions on the roster. Or you could put on your tin foil hat, as Brian Windhorst did on ESPN today, and theorize that it's a part of a larger scheme.
As seen above, Windhorst suggests that if Giannis does not sign his max extension and is poised to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, Davis might sign a contract that would allow him to become a free agent again at the same time. Then, in tandem with LeBron James, he would recruit Giannis to the Lakers as a free agent, giving the team the financial flexibility it needs to pull off such a move.
There are obviously a thousand "ifs" in this potential future that need to come to fruition to have even the slightest chance of becoming reality. Giannis might stay in Milwaukee even if he doesn't sign a max extension before the season begins in December. The Lakers, as much trust and faith as they surely have in their two stars, probably wouldn't be super eager to give both AD and LeBron the freedom to leave in 2021 if they wanted to. Even with the pair as free agents, they would have to bend over backwards to create the cap space to sign all three stars, and there's no guarantee it would work.
But man, just imagine that. LeBron running point while AD and Giannis fly around dominating the paint in ways we've never seen before. How do you even defend a fast break featuring those three? The spacing wouldn't be great, sure, but when you have three All-NBA scorers on your team, spacing truly would not matter, even in this NBA. None of that even touches upon the sheer terror two former Defensive Players of the Year and LeBron would inspire in opposing offenses.
To call this a long shot would be generous. So many things would have to break right for the Lakers to even have a prayer of pulling this off. But they are the Lakers, and things tend to break right for that particular organization. It probably won't happen, but until Giannis signs that extension, nothing is off the table.