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Old 09-02-2020, 03:16 PM   #41
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west is going to be killer tough. Pelicans and Suns could be coming. But zion health is a big if. Minnesota just doesnt have enough pieces around there big two. And GS will be back in the playoffs, them getting that 2 pick will be a boost for them.

For the mavs i would like to see some trades using our picks and players like brunson, jackson, wright and maybe powell. Hardaway as an expiring deal might be usefull
try to get wing guys like Crowder, Morris, veteran wing guys that can defend and shoot. Have some toughness.

Bring back Stein or a true athletic center with size for the 15-20 minutes a game that he would be needed.

Can't get everything in one offseason. But start building pieces now.
I think there's a 100% chance that WCS opts in and is back next year.

I think they'll try to move Wright, but I'll be shocked if they do anything to jeopardize their ability to create space in 2021.

Get ready to watch pretty much this same, exact team run it back next year, and I will be fine with that.
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Old 09-02-2020, 03:20 PM   #42
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We say this every season, but it generally evens out. Mavs need another creator for sure, and I think theyll be fighting for a 5-8 seed next season assuming Luka and KP are healthy.

Really want WCS but only if Rick is going to play him. I dont want this back and forth, because not all players respond to that, and WCS doesnt seem like the type to put up with getting yanked.

1. Sign Burke
2. Bring someone on with toughness
3. WCS opts in?
4. Find a home for Delon

I think 1 and 2 are absolutely necessary.
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Old 09-02-2020, 04:25 PM   #43
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I think there's a 100% chance that WCS opts in and is back next year.
I would be utterly shocked. WCS changed agents - you don't normally change agents if you are going to opt in
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Old 09-02-2020, 04:55 PM   #44
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Yea. I'd be really surprised if WCS is a Mav next season. He knows he isn't getting consistent chances to play here.
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Old 09-02-2020, 04:58 PM   #45
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I don't know, I could see WCS staying. Remember that the league will likely be in financial turmoil, and the cap is likely going down at some point. I'm not sure who will be paying him?
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:21 PM   #46
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I don’t see WCS coming back. His inconsistent role while he was here likely will having him look elsewhere. Plus the change in agent previously mentioned usually isn’t a good sign. I guess we could hope his new agents talks him into staying knowing playing with Luka could raise his stock in a down financial year.
We don’t know what kind of price tag Burke will have. He would be smart to come back because Rick has been able to put him a position to succeed which up until this point in his career he hasn’t had much of despite playing with several organizations, but money talks. Some team could offer him more money than we are willing to offer after he had a successful playoff showing.
Hopefully we are able to unload Wright. I think he has a place in this league, but he didn’t fit our system. I’m afraid it’s going to take attaching assets to unload him. I also don’t think the FO wants to mess with the 2021 cap space. I’d love to get rid of Jackson somehow, but I can’t imagine anyone would want him. I think THJ will be back who had one of his statistically best seasons shooting I believe. I wouldn’t be opposed to moving him if the right deal became available.
After a successful season I’m excited to see where they go this offseason.
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:30 PM   #47
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I think there's a 100% chance that WCS opts in and is back next year.

I think they'll try to move Wright, but I'll be shocked if they do anything to jeopardize their ability to create space in 2021.

Get ready to watch pretty much this same, exact team run it back next year, and I will be fine with that.
If they do stay pat, they better not screw up the draft picks. Sick of our garbage treatment of draft picks over the years, it's a big reason why we barely ever have any tradeable assets and are always old (only reason we are considered a young team is Luka and KP, we aren't very young outside that). Either trade the picks for something good (not to throw away for damn salary dumps), or get the picks right. There are some flawed, but really talented players in this draft who should be available at both 18 and 31 that would fit our needs pretty well.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:02 PM   #48
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If they do stay pat, they better not screw up the draft picks. Sick of our garbage treatment of draft picks over the years, it's a big reason why we barely ever have any tradeable assets and are always old (only reason we are considered a young team is Luka and KP, we aren't very young outside that). Either trade the picks for something good (not to throw away for damn salary dumps), or get the picks right. There are some flawed, but really talented players in this draft who should be available at both 18 and 31 that would fit our needs pretty well.
Not counting Lee and Barea because they likely wonít be here next year we have 2 guys over 30. Curry is 30 and Boban is 32. Thatís a fairly young team.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:25 PM   #49
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At least two teams that made the playoffs this year wonít make it next year. If the Mavs donít make any moves this offseason they are a candidate to be one of those teams. Donít waste another year of Luka......
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:27 PM   #50
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Not counting Lee and Barea because they likely wonít be here next year we have 2 guys over 30. Curry is 30 and Boban is 32. Thatís a fairly young team.
Young is subjective. They have young guys but not many we consider apart of their future.
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:07 PM   #51
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Nut punching, flopping etc
I forgot about the nut punching. I suddenly can recall several dirty plays.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:08 PM   #52
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I don't know, I could see WCS staying. Remember that the league will likely be in financial turmoil, and the cap is likely going down at some point. I'm not sure who will be paying him?
Nobody. He's another one of Donnie's "fallen angels" who is on his last life in the league. People act like Carlisle not putting him into the rotation immediately (on a good team, no less) is some sort of crime, and assume that he's upset about it.

Imo, the more likely scenario is that he's being coached the way he should be, and that he's aware of how Dallas has saved the careers of Brandan Wright, Aminu, etc. In reality, I'm sure it was made very clear to him what the team expects from him in order to play here. I mean, I'm sure he'll take the biggest pile of money offered, and he should, but I'm sure part of him hopes it will be here, and I just don't see how he's worth some big deal at this point.

And, the new agent he hired is a Dallas based agent, I think. Might mean nothing, but it might mean that he hopes to be here for a while.

Having said all of that, there's a chance he bolts, of course, but imo that would be stupid, and I find it hilarious that so many people this into the team and sport look for any way they can to call one of the best coaches in all of sports out for phantom drama that only exists in their minds. The only dude Carlisle has ever legit run out of town is Rondo, and good riddance.

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Old 09-02-2020, 10:10 PM   #53
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At least two teams that made the playoffs this year won’t make it next year. If the Mavs don’t make any moves this offseason they are a candidate to be one of those teams. Don’t waste another year of Luka......
Would you be more upset with wasting next year (which I don't think will happen, even with zero moves) or wasting most of his career by always "doing something" and never being in position to do the right thing? I mean, we just saw it the second way with Dirk, so I know what my answer is.

EDIT: and what do you mean two teams? I'm with you on GS, but who's the other team that's definitely going to get in?

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Old 09-02-2020, 10:32 PM   #54
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WCS has been posting on IG. He’s been in the gym adding to his game. Today he was shooting 3’s from the corner, and hitting at a pretty good clip. That would bode well for him if he can spread the floor. I’m not saying I want him shooting 5 a game, but if he can show he is able to hit the occasional 3 that would certainly help him get minutes here if he stays.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:25 PM   #55
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Nobody. He's another one of Donnie's "fallen angels" who is on his last life in the league. People act like Carlisle not putting him into the rotation immediately (on a good team, no less) is some sort of crime, and assume that he's upset about it.

Imo, the more likely scenario is that he's being coached the way he should be, and that he's aware of how Dallas has saved the careers of Brandan Wright, Aminu, etc. In reality, I'm sure it was made very clear to him what the team expects from him in order to play here. I mean, I'm sure he'll take the biggest pile of money offered, and he should, but I'm sure part of him hopes it will be here, and I just don't see how he's worth some big deal at this point.

And, the new agent he hired is a Dallas based agent, I think. Might mean nothing, but it might mean that he hopes to be here for a while.

Having said all of that, there's a chance he bolts, of course, but imo that would be stupid, and I find it hilarious that so many people this into the team and sport look for any way they can to call one of the best coaches in all of sports out for phantom drama that only exists in their minds. The only dude Carlisle has ever legit run out of town is Rondo, and good riddance.
Noel might be on that list too. Fwiw.

Good point tho about how he was likely told very clearly what he had to do to be a part of the team. There's always 2 sides of a situation.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:34 PM   #56
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WCS has been posting on IG. Heís been in the gym adding to his game. Today he was shooting 3ís from the corner, and hitting at a pretty good clip. That would bode well for him if he can spread the floor. Iím not saying I want him shooting 5 a game, but if he can show he is able to hit the occasional 3 that would certainly help him get minutes here if he stays.
Seems like a big if for a guy who opted out of the bubble and got a brand new agent to negotiate a big contract
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:05 AM   #57
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WCS has been posting on IG. Heís been in the gym adding to his game. Today he was shooting 3ís from the corner, and hitting at a pretty good clip. That would bode well for him if he can spread the floor. Iím not saying I want him shooting 5 a game, but if he can show he is able to hit the occasional 3 that would certainly help him get minutes here if he stays.
Yeah I saw one of those videos. I've been on the Mavs' practice court many times, and although I can't say for sure, I think that's where he was working out.
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:21 AM   #58
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it's possible, but I'm not sure about that. Miami has played well but Boston may have to take care of this one. Idc really As long as it gets done.
Miami's up 2-0. Milwaukee's in trouble.
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:52 AM   #59
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Would you be more upset with wasting next year (which I don't think will happen, even with zero moves) or wasting most of his career by always "doing something" and never being in position to do the right thing? I mean, we just saw it the second way with Dirk, so I know what my answer is.

EDIT: and what do you mean two teams? I'm with you on GS, but who's the other team that's definitely going to get in?
I'm just gauging how the NBA seems to work. Lakers and Mavs missed the playoffs and then made it this year. There's always new teams added to that mix. I honestly think Grizzlies, Suns, Pelicans will once again be fighting for a playoff berth next season. The West is scary deep and youth is the only reason why these teams missed out. Grizzlies are going to have a harder task but with a solid offseason....they could do some damage too.

And you have to "Do something". You just do. Especially if you believe you have a Superstar. You can't just sit here and pray and hope you get a superstar to come to you. Luka and KP if healthy should be enough superstar power. Fill out this team with players. With some specialists.
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Old 09-03-2020, 04:04 PM   #60
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Miami's up 2-0. Milwaukee's in trouble.
Looking good so far.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:29 PM   #61
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I'm just gauging how the NBA seems to work. Lakers and Mavs missed the playoffs and then made it this year. There's always new teams added to that mix. I honestly think Grizzlies, Suns, Pelicans will once again be fighting for a playoff berth next season. The West is scary deep and youth is the only reason why these teams missed out. Grizzlies are going to have a harder task but with a solid offseason....they could do some damage too.

And you have to "Do something". You just do. Especially if you believe you have a Superstar. You can't just sit here and pray and hope you get a superstar to come to you. Luka and KP if healthy should be enough superstar power. Fill out this team with players. With some specialists.
Fair enough.

I have hated "plan powder" or whatever you want to call it since the title. Monumentally stupid. But this 2021 plan is different. People WILL want to play here by then. To me, that's the "something" you "do" if you're in the Mavs' situation: try to improve in small ways, but not in any way that jeopardizes your chance at that free agent class.

As for next season, I just don't see how they don't make the playoffs. After what we've seen over the past weeks, even after the Mavs were eliminated, I think it's clear that THIS YEAR they were the 3rd or 4th best team in the West, and that's without any playoff experience whatsoever.

Golden State will make the playoffs, and you're right, maybe Pheonix or Memphis will, too (I'm way not buying the Pelicans yet), but to me, OKC, HOU, DEN and UTAH are all more likely to fall prey than our Mavs.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:44 PM   #62
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Looking good so far.
Welp. 3-0.

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Old 09-04-2020, 08:57 PM   #63
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Fair enough.

I have hated "plan powder" or whatever you want to call it since the title. Monumentally stupid. But this 2021 plan is different. People WILL want to play here by then. To me, that's the "something" you "do" if you're in the Mavs' situation: try to improve in small ways, but not in any way that jeopardizes your chance at that free agent class.
I agree that this is different from plan powder. Plan Powder was stupid because A: the Mavs were never going to be an attractive destination as long as our franchise player was in his mid-30s and he also had one of the oldest supporting casts in the league, and B: it wasn't just one free agent class, it was year after year. The 2020 Mavs on the other hand have a 21 year old transcendent super star, and a 25 year old all-star-ish player in place. And this is one historically loaded free agent class we're talking about here.

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As for next season, I just don't see how they don't make the playoffs. After what we've seen over the past weeks, even after the Mavs were eliminated, I think it's clear that THIS YEAR they were the 3rd or 4th best team in the West, and that's without any playoff experience whatsoever.

Golden State will make the playoffs, and you're right, maybe Pheonix or Memphis will, too (I'm way not buying the Pelicans yet), but to me, OKC, HOU, DEN and UTAH are all more likely to fall prey than our Mavs.
I tend to agree. I think all four of the teams you mentioned are more likely to get worse than get better.
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Old 09-04-2020, 09:32 PM   #64
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Welp. 3-0.
Yup.

We are at best 5 Bucks playoff losses away from having a decent shot at getting him.
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Old 09-05-2020, 12:46 AM   #65
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Yup.

We are at best 5 Bucks playoff losses away from having a decent shot at getting him.
Not retaining Brogdon was a colossal mistake.
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Old 09-05-2020, 12:59 PM   #66
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Not retaining Brogdon was a colossal mistake.
Even more proof of the value of these 2 way players.
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:39 PM   #67
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Man Jerami Grant is exactly what we need this offseason. Big body, can switch on defense , good from 3. No way Denver lets him go after giving up a 1st for him. And unless we dump contracts or THJ itís out all we have is MLE.
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:56 PM   #68
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Man Jerami Grant is exactly what we need this offseason. Big body, can switch on defense , good from 3. No way Denver lets him go after giving up a 1st for him. And unless we dump contracts or THJ itís out all we have is MLE.
I was watching this game thinking the same, exact thing. Can you imagine Grant and DFS starting at the forwards? Won't happen, but that's exactly the type of player they need.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:57 AM   #69
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It will be tough for OKC to repeat what they achieved this season. The veterans they have were supposed to be assets to trade for picks and young player, yet somehow meshed and willed the team to the playoffs. But I don't know if they can repeat that, or even if their FO even wants to still keep them.

So I also think Warriors will end up replacing OKC, as long as Curry and Thompson are fully healthy.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:22 AM   #70
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Looking Good?
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:45 AM   #71
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Is this the official 2021 free agency/Giannis thread? I don't think anyone seriously entertained the idea of Giannis coming to Dallas until recently, but Luka proving himself to be a playoff stud even in defeat, and the Bucks shockingly on the verge of getting tossed out of the second round has gotten people talking. Dallas is now often the first name mentioned in potential destinations for Giannis if in fact he does leave Milwaukee. The other most frequently mentioned teams are Miami, Toronto, and Golden State. Although as this article points out, Toronto's supporting cast is kind of old, Miami is a questionable fit, and Golden State would have to basically purge their roster of everyone except Curry to make it happen.

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1. Milwaukee Bucks
When the Bucks lost on Tuesday, Giannis certainly didn't sound like a player destined for departure. "At the end of the day we've got to learn from everything that goes on in your life and in your career and hopefully we can learn from this and get better as a team and come back and hopefully we can build a culture in Milwaukee for many years that we can come out here and compete every single year for a championship," he told reporters after the Bucks' Game 5 loss. He then proceeded to shoot down the idea that he would ask for a trade. Giannis, for the moment, seems hellbent on winning in Milwaukee.

The best thing the Bucks have going for them is that Giannis has never displayed much interest in the trappings of stardom. He doesn't really buddy up to other superstars, and as a Greek citizen, he's never been infected by the AAU circuit or the rampant tampering of USA Basketball. He doesn't cameo in movies or emphasize his brand. His celebrity is minuscule compared to his production, and that appears to be a choice. Giannis is driven almost entirely by basketball. He's only ever played it for one NBA team.

Incumbency is a powerful force, even in this NBA. Milwaukee is the only team with a direct line to Giannis, and this conversation ends with a 2021 championship. The Bucks can ask him explicitly what sort of roster moves he thinks will help get them there. If, for instance, he decrees that the front office acquire Chris Paul to serve as his playoff closer, the Bucks would almost certainly acquiesce. If he would prefer younger teammates and a longer window (which, given the age of his co-stars, Milwaukee doesn't have right now), the Bucks would shift gears. It goes without saying that Milwaukee will offer him the supermax for five years.

Would they pay the luxury tax? That's less certain. They certainly should, but haven't since 2003, when it was far less punitive. Giannis didn't insist upon Malcolm Brogdon's return last summer, a choice he likely regrets. "[I] definitely wish he was still here," Antetokounmpo said in November. Giannis prefers not to interfere with management's affairs. Until the bitter end, he did not force Budenholzer to play him more minutes in the postseason, saying consistently "I'll do whatever coach tells me to do." Milwaukee might have to push to get direct answers out of him, but the rest of the NBA gets only a few days to recruit him directly. The Bucks still have a whole year.

They Bucks have already had seven years with Giannis, and it's worth noting that, despite this meltdown, they've mostly done a good job with them. Again, Giannis is not LeBron James. He was not the prophesized savior of a city or God's gift to the game of basketball. He was a skinny kid from Greece who fell out of the lottery before Milwaukee scooped him up at No. 15 and helped develop him into one of the best basketball players on Earth. Giannis may not be Giannis without the Bucks. Two-time MVPs don't exactly grow on trees. Championships are the standard, but an All-NBA teammate, a Coach of the Year winner and back-to-back No. 1 overall seeds are at least evidence that the Bucks are on the right track. They haven't failed Giannis.

But will he feel that way if they fall short yet again? There's no way of knowing. The Bucks entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Giannis sweepstakes. They're still in front ... for now. They have the best chance of any individual team, but after what just happened, the field has crept closer to a 50 percent chance in the aggregate. Drastic changes will be needed to secure a commitment. Moving forward, the Bucks will be held to the same standard as every other team on this list. If they can't win him a title, someone else will.

2. Dallas Mavericks
If the sole goal for Giannis is to sign with the team that gives him the best chance to win the most championships, he will sign with the Dallas Mavericks. Frankly, it isn't close. They have by far the best basketball situation to offer.

If any player has a chance to unseat Giannis as the best player of the 2020s, it is Luka Doncic. The two couldn't fit together better as teammates. Doncic's playoff chops were confirmed when he took the Clippers to six games and beat them on one of the best buzzer-beaters in recent memory. Kawhi Leonard utterly confounded Giannis in the 2019 playoffs. Luka averaged 31 points and 8.7 assists against him.

The two would fit together wonderfully as teammates. Dallas just posted the most efficient regular-season offense in NBA history, thanks to Luka's preternatural ball-handling instincts. He is likely the best pick-and-roll ball-handler in the NBA already, and will only get better. Where Dallas struggled was defense, ranking 18th on the season. The Defensive Player of the Year would help on that front. The lone concern would be shooting, as Doncic, for all of his gifts, made only 31.6 percent of his 3-point attempts this season. That doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Luka falls in the James Harden camp of deflated 3-point shooting, where his percentage falls because of the degree of difficulty on his shots and the free-throw hunting he does on them. Nobody sags off Luka.

Pretend for a moment they did. So what? Look at the rest of the Dallas roster. Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber are both among the best shooting big men in basketball. The double-drag pick-and-rolls Doncic could run with one of them popping behind the arc as Giannis rolled to the basket would be unguardable. Dallas took the second-most 3-pointers in basketball this season and made the 10th-highest percentage of those attempts. The Mavs' starting point guard is a Curry. Of course, they can shoot. Rick Carlisle teams always can. You know the old adage that jump-shooting teams don't win championships? Carlisle is the one that disproved that in 2011.

The finances are easy enough to work out due to Doncic's ultra-valuable rookie contract. He's only on the books for approximately $10.2 million during the summer of 2021, and the Mavericks only have around $84.1 million committed with most of their role players locked into team-friendly contracts. Against the originally projected $125 million 2021-22 cap, they'd already have max cap space. Even if it freezes at the current $109 million total, moving a role player or two for Giannis' sake wouldn't be difficult. The worst-case scenario would likely be stretching Dwight Powell's contract. Something tells me that's a sacrifice Dallas would make.

So what are the concerns? They're minimal, but they exist. For one, many two-time MVPs wouldn't feel comfortable joining a player like Luka. It would mean accepting being the second-most popular player on his own team, a fate that drove Kevin Durant to Brooklyn, but it would also mean sacrificing touches. As a power forward, Giannis already gets fewer than most players of his ilk. Injuries are a concern as well. Porzingis has had several. Doncic's ankles have been slightly troublesome.

But no destination offers greater superteam potential than Dallas. Giannis will be 26 next summer. So will Porzingis. Doncic will be 22. That trio, if healthy, could reign as a decade-long dynasty. No other team offers that sort of promise.

3. Toronto Raptors
Masai Ujiri lost his first superstar when he wanted to go home. There would be a special sort of poetry to him landing Giannis, then, because the Toronto executive helped the Antetokounmpos settle in their home years ago. According to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Ujiri, who is heavily involved in Basketball Without Borders and is of Nigerian descent, helped the Antetokounmpo family emigrate to Greece from Nigeria. He reportedly tried to trade up in the 2013 NBA Draft to pick Giannis. He failed then. He'll get his shot again in 2021.

The Raptors will have the raw talent to earn an audience with Giannis. Pascal Siakam is an All-NBA player. Fred VanVleet is growing into one of the better all-around point guards in the NBA. Toronto's player development program is unmatched. VanVleet and Terence Davis were undrafted. Siakam and OG Anunoby came late in the first round. Kyle Lowry was barely a full-time starter when the Raptors got their hands on him. Now he's headed for the Hall of Fame.

But Lowry is 34. Marc Gasol is 35. Serge Ibaka is 30. None of them is signed beyond next season. Neither is VanVleet, though a hefty contract extension is incoming. That shouldn't limit Toronto's ability to get to max cap space. The Raptors currently only have around $46.5 million committed for the 2021-22 season. But there is going to be plenty of roster turnover in the meantime. Some might be needed. Siakam hasn't yet made a single field goal in clutch situations in this postseason, per NBA.com. He and Giannis play the same position. There are fit issues here. Nick Nurse is a coaching wizard, but without the sort of closer Toronto had in Kawhi a year ago, recruiting Giannis won't be easy.

But if there is any executive Giannis will feel comfortable entrusting his prime to, it will be Ujiri. No matter his roster concerns, he'd be joining an organization with perhaps the best coach and GM in basketball. The Raptors would figure it out. They always do.

4. Miami Heat
When kids want to scare each other, they tell ghost stories. When small-market GMs want to scare each other? They tell Pat Riley stories. We've all heard the spookiest. Riley walks into a room with an MVP, pulls out a small velvet bag, and drops its diamond-studded contents onto a table. Superstars desperate for a single championship ring suddenly have nine staring them in the face. He has so many of them that he literally gave one to Chris Bosh as a keepsake in 2010. He's been doing this dance for decades. There is not a more terrifying recruiter on Earth than Riley.

The question financially isn't whether the Heat can afford a star free agent. The question is whether or not they can afford two star free agents. There are dozens of possible Miami salary permutations, and the one it pursues will depend on the coronavirus' impact on the cap. If the Heat want to strip the roster down to the studs, they can keep just Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson on the books for around $65 million, once you factor in Ryan Anderson's dead money. That's not two max slots, but it's one and some change. There are sign-and-trade scenarios that get them to two, provided they are willing to pay the tax and give up some of their young talent. The Victor Oladipo rumors have only intensified since Miami swept Indiana. They could also keep most of the gang together, sign Giannis, and then flank him with some role players of his choosing. Erik Spoelstra will make it work. He certainly did at Milwaukee's expense in Orlando.

The question here is fit. Adebayo has made five career 3-pointers. Butler only made 29 this season, and he's 30 years old with some injuries to his name. Teams can maybe get away with two non-shooters in their starting five, but three? Giannis would be driving into a wall on every possession.

It's what makes the Oladipo rumors so strange. Putting aside his injury risk, his 35 percent 3-point shooting is below league average, and his ball-handling and perimeter defense would be somewhat redundant with Butler in tow. Unless Oladipo is the player he was in 2018, paying him four times as much as Herro and Robinson's cap hold combined seems nonsensical. Including the two of them in a starting lineup with their three stars is probably the only way to offset that trio's shooting deficiencies. Trading one or both in the series of moves necessary to fit the two All-Star free agents would be counterproductive on that front, especially with no more cap space to sign replacement shooting.

But bet against Riley at your own peril. His track record as both a recruiter and roster builder is historic. Whether it's Oladipo, another star or a collection of role players, Miami will be able to present Giannis with a championship-caliber roster and organization. The Heat are neck-and-neck with the Raptors for the top non-Dallas threat to Milwaukee, with only two factors keeping them in the No. 4 slot. The first is Toronto's lack of non-shooters. Their spacing is easier to conceive. The second is pride. Giannis has now lost to both franchises in the playoffs, but at least in Toronto's case, it came against a different iteration of that team. They are legitimate threats, though. This is the cut-off between serious contenders and fringe possibilities.

5. Golden State Warriors
Giannis would probably be very interested in playing for the Warriors. If his ideal team is one that spaces the floor for him as much as possible, the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson duo would be his perfect teammates. In as much as he maintains relationships with opposing stars, he and Curry have a friendship. They both picked the other No. 1 overall in All-Star Drafts during their respective captaincies. They've spoken respectfully of each other in the past.

But Golden State's path to actually acquiring Giannis would be overwhelmingly difficult. It literally cannot create max cap space around the Curry-Thompson pairing. The two of them are on the books for a staggering $84.6 million in the summer of 2021. Even if the Warriors dumped every other player on their roster, Incomplete Roster Charges would rob them of max space. They could trade Thompson, but how appealing would Curry alone be, especially if the rest of the roster was depleted? Draymond Green isn't a draw for Giannis. They do many of the same things and Green can't shoot.

Giannis has only one path to the Warriors: a trade. Golden State has some pieces. The rebuilding Bucks would surely have interest in whoever Golden State picks No. 2 this offseason, provided it keeps the pick, and Minnesota's protected choice next season is valuable as well. Andrew Wiggins could serve as matching salary. But the Warriors have another obstacle to overcome, and it's one they're familiar with after their D'Angelo Russell experience this season, and that's the hard cap.

Acquiring any player through a sign-and-trade, no matter that player's salary, creates a hard cap $6 million above the tax apron. This season, that figure was $138.9 million. Even with a frozen cap, a max contract for Giannis would start at $32.7 million, bringing the trio up to $117.3 million. If the cap goes up, the apron will, too, but so will Giannis' salary. In other words, Golden State would likely have only a pittance to build around its incredible trio. Say goodbye to Draymond, at the very least.

So realistically, for the Warriors to land Giannis and build a champion around him, they'd have to avoid that hard cap. Doing so would mean trading for Giannis before his contract expires. In other words, they're hoping the Bucks decide to deal him in the offseason or at the trade deadline. While highly unlikely, it's not impossible, and if they do, the Warriors jump up on this list significantly. But the odds are extremely slim, and that has Golden State firmly outside of the top four.

6. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have been stealthily recruiting Giannis for over a year. Even as they built a championship contender around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, they refused to sign a single free agent to a contract that lasts beyond next season. They signed his brother Kostas to a two-way deal. Their top assistant is Jason Kidd, Antetokounmpo's former coach in Milwaukee. The two were extremely close. Giannis offered to try to save his job after he got fired.

Here's the trouble: The Lakers have almost no way of affording him. Let's say their cap sheet includes nobody except James, Davis and the dead money left over from Luol Deng's deal. Assuming LeBron and Davis are at their maxes, that's still over $81 million on the books. They could pursue a sign-and-trade ... but with what assets? Kyle Kuzma isn't going to be the centerpiece of a Giannis trade. New Orleans has all of their draft picks. The Bucks wouldn't cooperate. Without space, the Lakers have no leverage to force them to.

The path here, essentially, relies on LeBron, A.D. and Giannis all taking pay cuts. That's not exactly likely. LeBron, a former NBPA vice president, has made a point of always taking the max since 2014 so other superstars wouldn't be pressured to sacrifice. Davis and Giannis are both in their primes and have both already lost money due to the virus. They aren't taking cuts for this.

Especially since LeBron would be 36 at the time, and neither he nor Davis are elite shooters. The trio, as talented as it would be, makes little sense together. The roster would be devoid of shooting with no realistic way of finding it. It's a fun thought exercise, and the Lakers have certainly telegraphed their interest, but this just doesn't make enough long-term basketball sense to justify passing up the more immediate fits elsewhere. The Lakers are in the running because they're the Lakers, but they're not true threats unless those pay cuts materialize and they find some way to space the floor for bargain-basement prices.

7-8. Atlanta Hawks/Phoenix Suns
Nobody expected Durant and Kyrie Irving to sign with Brooklyn. After five years in the gutter, the 2018 Nets were hardly appealing to free agents. But years of building yielded a single playoff appearance in a desirable market, and that was enough to sway two superstars. That, essentially, is the argument for the Hawks and Suns. They've both been bad for years, but with one playoff appearance, they become significantly more appealing.

Devin Booker is as perfect a co-star for Giannis as could exist. Trae Young isn't far behind, though his defense will always be problematic on the playoff stage. Both have a deep stable of young, cheap wings to supplement them. Both play in desirable markets. Players tend to love Atlanta. Arizona has no state income tax.

Atlanta has the edge over Phoenix for now based on one thing: flexibility. The only non-rookie deals on their books for the 2021-22 season are Clint Capela, an easily movable starter, and DeWayne Dedmon, an expiring contract. If Atlanta chooses not to extend John Collins, it could fairly easily enter free agency with Young, its other youngsters and two max slots. Giannis surely wouldn't mind bringing a friend to his new home. Phoenix can get to one max slot pretty easily but has little flexibility beyond that. Both are theoretical trade destinations for another star.

But "theoretical" is the best descriptor for either destination, because to this point, neither core has reached the postseason. Atlanta has a slightly easier path by virtue of playing in the Eastern Conference, but Giannis won't consider either unless the Suns or Hawks take meaningful strides next season. The onus is on them to do so. Unless either truly pops, both will probably be on the outside looking in, but just as the top tier consists of four teams, so too does this second tier. The Hawks and Suns already have compelling cases. The teams beyond them do not.

9. New York Knicks
The New York market, in itself, is not going to impress Giannis. What the New York market can do for him as a recruiter? That could be another story. If there is another 2021 free agent he is dead-set on playing with, New York, as a city, is more likely to be attractive to that co-star than, say, Milwaukee. The Knicks have the money to make that work. They owe Julius Randle $4 million in guarantees and still have over $6 million charged to Joakim Noah's stretched deal, but otherwise, they have nothing but rookie deals on the books. The Knicks are, mostly, a blank slate.

That's their sole appeal, because very little of the current roster fits with Giannis. RJ Barrett, while theoretically a high-level individual scorer, had an uneven rookie season that included little development as a 3-point shooter. Mitchell Robinson is never going to shoot outside of the paint. He just broke Wilt Chamberlain's field goal percentage record by exclusively dunking. The Knicks could draft shooters between now and 2021 free agency, but such young players are unlikely to appeal much to veteran stars. They could trade for another veteran star, but that would deprive them of their cap flexibility.

But the big market + two max slots formula has worked wonders in the past, even if not for the Knicks. They have a path to Giannis, even if it involves a number of factors well outside of their control. They should be considered extremely unlikely candidates who are, in truth, at least multiple seasons away from truly appealing to superstars.

10. Los Angeles Clippers
No, the current iteration of the Clippers is not going to land Giannis. The Thunder own all of their trade assets, and once they re-sign Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris this offseason, they are going to vault into the luxury tax for as long as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George remain.

Those two are the lone reason the Clippers get a listing here. They are both 2021 free agents, and if, for whatever unforeseeable reason, they decide to leave? The Clippers are suddenly in a fairly similar situation to where they were in 2019. They'd lack star power, but they'd be one of the smartest organizations in basketball while occupying the NBA's best market. Assuming they could clear the cap space, superstars would want to play for them. Giannis alone wouldn't replace Leonard and George. If he could bring a buddy? Now we're talking.

But Leonard and George aren't leaving barring something completely unforeseen, so this is likely moot. We're just being thorough. If the Clippers become a viable destination, Giannis will do his due diligence.

11-13. Oklahoma City Thunder/New Orleans Pelicans/Minnesota Timberwolves
The final teams that get a write-up are not truly in the conversation. They have given no indication that they want to pursue a superstar in 2021, and even if they did their markets make it extremely difficult for them to do so. No, Giannis probably isn't going to choose to spend his prime in Minnesota, but let's game this out a bit.

New Orleans has a fairly clean long-term cap sheet. Oklahoma City can get there if it trades Paul this offseason. Minnesota wouldn't be able to create max cap space, but with a No. 1 overall pick in its back pocket, it has the foundation of a viable trade offer if Giannis tells Milwaukee he's out either way. Minnesota already has perhaps the perfect front-court partner for Giannis in Karl-Anthony Towns. New Orleans and Oklahoma City, replete with assets, could fairly easily trade for a fitting sidekick (say, Bradley Beal, if he is available). All three have attractive young talent. They're all forward-thinking organizations that would properly surround Giannis.

Look, it's not likely, but superstars aren't exactly logical. The world thought Jimmy Butler was crazy for signing with a lottery team. He looks pretty smart now. If Giannis keys in on Towns as his preferred partner, or decides to join the team that acquires Beal, or even that he just really liked Zion Williamson or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (as ill-fitting as either would be). There's a shred of hope here. When I say shred, I mean something in the neighborhood of 0.01 percent. When you have the young talent and trade assets these teams have, you get a couple of paragraphs. That is all. None of them are in the running yet.

Unranked due to difficulty of acquisition
Boston Celtics
Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz
Philadelphia 76ers
Brooklyn Nets
Portland Trail Blazers
"Difficulty" of acquisition is a somewhat unfair grouping. Some of these teams, like Utah, actually have no method of acquiring Giannis without gutting the team that might attract him in the first place. Others have paths. If Milwaukee accepts that Giannis is leaving and cooperates on a sign-and-trade, some of these teams have viable offers. If Giannis wants to play with Jayson Tatum, Boston could gut the roster to accommodate him. Jaylen Brown would be a nice building block for Milwaukee. So would Michael Porter Jr. But neither the Celtics nor the Nuggets have displayed any interest in going down that path. They haven't preserved cap space or hoarded trade assets. They'd be interested in Giannis, but they don't seem interested in doing what it takes to get him ... for now. If he went to either Boston and Denver and said "I want to be here, make it happen," we'd be having a different conversation.

The Rockets are out. They don't have nearly the assets to dump their bad contracts, and Milwaukee would have little interest in what they have. Portland is in the same boat. CJ McCollum is a nice player, but he'd be nearing 30 by the time this deal would need to happen. He makes little sense for Milwaukee unless it is determined to continue winning on some level.

A Philadelphia deal would be counterproductive. Giannis would fit as poorly with Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid as they currently fit with one another. Brooklyn would be incredibly fun, but there's just no way Milwaukee would accept Caris LeVert as the centerpiece of such a deal, and it would likely encounter hard-cap issues in a sign-and-trade anyway. So while some of these destinations could possibly be fits, right now, the actual acquisition process is too difficult to imagine to have them in the running. Maybe that changes.

Unranked due to lack of talent
Indiana Pacers
Memphis Grizzlies
Orlando Magic
San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento Kings
Charlotte Hornets
Washington Wizards
Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers
There is one 2019 All-Star in this group: Domantas Sabonis. Bradley Beal is the only other immediate star in this group. Ja Morant and De'Aaron Fox are going to get there, but as shaky shooters, neither particularly fits with Giannis anyway. These are the easiest teams to cross off. They just aren't good enough to recruit a player like Giannis. If it's any consolation, some of them have bright futures anyway.

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Old 09-09-2020, 12:07 PM   #72
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Is this the official 2021 free agency/Giannis thread? I don't think anyone seriously entertained the idea of Giannis coming to Dallas until recently, but Luka proving himself to be a playoff stud even in defeat, and the Bucks shockingly on the verge of getting tossed out of the second round has gotten people talking. Dallas is now often the first name mentioned in potential destinations for Giannis if in fact he does leave Milwaukee. The other most frequently mentioned teams are Miami, Toronto, and Golden State. Although as this article points out, Toronto's supporting cast is kind of old, Miami is a questionable fit, and Golden State would have to basically purge their roster of everyone except Curry to make it happen.
Oh man, the clickbait is going to go deep until he re-signs with Bucks.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:28 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by SMC0007 View Post
Oh man, the clickbait is going to go deep until he re-signs with Bucks.
How confident are you that he will? They're about to get knocked out of the second round. If they win the title next year, he definitely stays. If they at least make the finals, he probably still stays. But if they don't at least make the finals next year before he hits free agency, I could easily see him leaving.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:33 PM   #74
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How confident are you that he will? They're about to get knocked out of the second round. If they win the title next year, he definitely stays. If they at least make the finals, he probably still stays. But if they don't at least make the finals next year before he hits free agency, I could easily see him leaving.
About to? They got knocked out last night.

I also don't think he leaves. Success or not. He's more of a Dirk than a LeBron
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:09 PM   #75
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About to? They got knocked out last night.

I also don't think he leaves. Success or not. He's more of a Dirk than a LeBron
Whoops, how the hell did I miss that? I totally thought the game was tonight. Guess I need to find a recording of the game.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:10 PM   #76
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I also don't think he leaves. Success or not. He's more of a Dirk than a LeBron
You might be right, but Dirk played in a different time. This was pre-"player empowerment" era, and for what it's worth, Dirk has admitted that if he hadn't won the title in 2011, he probably would have chased a ring somewhere else.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:21 PM   #77
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Also, I don't know how much we can really compare Dirk's situation to Giannis'. As absolutely awesome as Dirk was, Dirk was never at any point the consensus best player in the league. At his peak he was a top five player. But at no point in his career would anyone who wasn't a Mavs homer have ranked him over Duncan, Kobe, and Shaq early on, and Lebron later on. Giannis is consensus best player in the league, and he's going to be an unrestricted free agent. The first time Dirk re-signed with the Mavs, he was still very young and quite a ways from reaching his peak. The only time he was a free agent in his prime was the historic 2010 offseason, in which he was at best the 3rd or 4th biggest name on the market. I don't know who exactly courted Dirk that year, but I don't think Dirk ever at any point faced a free agency where it became clear that A: he probably wouldn't win a title in Dallas, and B: he had other places to go where he very clearly could have a better chance at winning a title. At least not until he was old and already had a ring. Dirk was never in the situation Giannis is in right now.

Giannis' personality make be more like Dirk than Lebron, but Giannis' situation is a lot more like Lebron's than Dirk's. And while Giannis may be fiercely loyal like Dirk, he cares about winning more than anything else- also like Dirk. If it becomes clear that Bucks are not in a position to compete for titles down the road, I think Giannis leaves. He definitely wants to win in Milwaukee, but I don't think he stays in Milwaukee if he thinks it comes at the expense of winning a championship.

Everyone seems to be speculating that the Bucks trade for Chris Paul. That seems like the ultimate high risk high reward move. Give up a bunch of assets for a 36 year old player, so you can win a championship next year and hopefully entice your superstar to re-sign. That's great if it works. But what if they trade for Paul and again don't make it out of the East? Then they're in worse shape then ever. They're older, and have nothing to trade with.

I don't think it's nearly as clear cut as anyone thinks. At this point, I say it's 50/50. The bottom line is, we have no idea what Giannis is really thinking. Yes he seems to be super loyal, one-team guy who doesn't care about big markets and doesn't want to "chase" rings. But I also thought the same thing about Durant and Kawhi once upon a time. The only thing I actually know about Giannis is that he wants to win.

EDIT: For what it's worth, the Bucks are currently the second oldest team in the league. And that's before trading for the 36 year old Chris Paul, which most people (myself included) believe is their best chance at winning a title next year. But if they trade for Paul and then don't win? Then they are truly f*cked, as far as I can tell.

DOUBLE EDIT: In a way, Giannis' free agency starts this year. The Bucks can and will offer him the supermax this year. If he declines, that is a huge signal that he's not married to Milwaukee.

Last edited by Thespiralgoeson; 09-09-2020 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:12 PM   #78
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The key is not worrying about cap space like the Mavs mistakenly do every FA there they think they are going to make a splash. Just get as much talent possible NOW, and if Giannis wants to come here, then you clear space to make it happen. That's what the good teams do.

And I'm not really interested in this song and dance. I hope he stays in Milwaukee because there will be too many suitors. It'll just be another get our hopes up to have them crushed last minute scenario.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:21 PM   #79
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Btw something i missed....Giannis talked in Interviews of KP as a friend. Well, a basketball related friend i guess, not a real life friend.

KP joined Giannis for his Streetball event in Athens back in 2016: https://www.google.com/amp/s/coupler...cbc07a910413a3
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:34 PM   #80
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Jacoby makes a good point/observation on Giannis, starts around 1:25 second mark.

https://youtu.be/nHtiHgIw8hY
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