NBA Rumors: 3 teams emerge as most-likely Giannis destinations

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks NBA (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks NBA (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo raised eyebrows with his recent comments about signing an extension with his team. Normally, NBA superstars play it cool when asked about whether they plan to re-sign with their team, but Giannis didn’t do that.

"“Next summer, it would make more sense for both parties. Even then, I don’t know. I would not be the best version of myself if I didn’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, and everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”"

That likely gave Bucks fans a near-heart attack. And while he was probably making these comments to keep pressure on Milwaukee, other teams probably heard the opening they needed to try and swoop in and steal him in the summer of 2026, when he can become an unrestricted free agent.

NBA Rumors: League insider reveals the teams favored to land Giannis Antetokounmpo

Two teams, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, are believed to be the frontrunners to acquire him if he decides to leave Milwaukee, according to NBA Insider Marc Stein.

They join the Miami Heat, who initially pursued Giannis the last time he was up for an extension, as the three teams at the front of the line to try and add the superstar in 2026. Each team currently has very little committed salary that far out, but the Heat will need to re-sign Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler by then, and the Knicks could re-sign Jalen Brunson. Still, two years is plenty of time for these three teams to maneuver to try and clear out enough space to accommodate Giannis.

3 teams who'll regret not upgrading in free agency. dark. Next

If he ultimately doesn’t sign an extension, then in the summer of 2026, he will be hotly pursued by the Knicks, Lakers, and Heat. With the Bucks core aging around Giannis, he is sure to keep the pressure on Milwaukee to remain competitive, but if they can’t, then he will have plenty of options.