The Toronto Raptors are planning on being big players for Giannis Antetokounmpo's services if he's a free agent next summer, and a TV show might be helping them send not-so-subtle messages his way. A new episode of a Raptors docuseries highlighted the franchise's pursuit of the two-time MVP during the 2013 NBA Draft and, frankly, the message wasn't subtle.
Open Gym is a series produced by Bell and the Raptors that takes fans behind the scenes of the franchise. Under that umbrella, a four-part series entitled "The Bubble" is now being released that covers Toronto's time in Orlando to finish the 2019-20 season. New footage made it very clear that team president Masai Ujiri and current general manager Bobby Webster desperately tried to land the Milwaukee Bucks star during his draft year.
The footage shows a peek inside the team's War Room during the 2013 draft as the Raptors attempt to trade into the first round to select Antetokounmpo. They first attempt to get the 12th pick then then14th. They fail in both spots and Antetokounmpo was selected 15th by Milwaukee. The whole thing has a "one that got away" vibe.
Check it out:
Kind of interesting that this footage is being released now, just a few months before Giannis is set to hit free agency, huh? What a crazy coincidence. I bet he's flattered.
So is this a new way around tampering rules? They're not actively pursuing a player, just subtly reminding him they always believed in his ability. It'll be fascinating to see if the NBA says anything about this.