On this episode of the HoopsHype podcast, Michael Scotto is joined by colleague Yossi Gozlan, our salary cap expert. Scotto and Gozlan discuss Chris Paul trade scenarios for the Bucks and teams who could sign Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021. They also discuss whether it makes sense for the Bucks to trade Antetokounmpo if he declines a super-max extension.
0:55 – What went wrong for the Bucks against the Heat
3:17 – Giannis and the supermax extension scenarios
Gozlan: “From Giannis’ perspective, if he doesn’t take the supermax, two things: One, if he’s really interested in signing a supermax and wants the long-term security, wants the money, I think he would want it, but what could be holding him back could be what the salary cap is going to be. We still haven’t gotten any guidance from the NBA. The recent cap projection was $115 million. The following year was $125 million. Now, it could end up being the same salary cap figure for the next two years. If it were to be much lower and closer to what it is now, even less, then I would imagine Giannis would want to hold back on signing the supermax because that’s a lot less money to lock down versus what he was expected to get earlier. Under the $125 million salary cap, he was going to get around $250 million over five years. If it’s going to stick closer to the current $109 million salary cap or lower, he’s looking at closer to $210 or $220 million. That’s a big difference right there.”
6:31 – Should Milwaukee consider trading Antetokounmpo?
Scotto: “If I’m Milwaukee, purely from a basketball standpoint in trying to win a championship, whatever he says (about an extension), he’s not going anywhere in my opinion, because Milwaukee’s never been a traditional free agency destination. It’s a cold-weather city, and it’s not a location that’s really been desired by a bunch of free agents in the past. If you try to trade him, you’re not going to get equal value back for the reigning MVP in a trade. For me, it’s never going to get better for the Bucks. I think you’ve got to push all the chips into the center of the table and really go for it.”
7:35 – Is Chris Paul the missing piece for a Bucks title run?
10:33 – What a CP3 trade could look like
Gozlan: “Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova – assuming you guarantee his $7 million salary for next season – and then you can do a variation of George Hill. I don’t think they want to trade George Hill. I think he was awesome for them, and they want to keep him. In that case, you can get away with Robin Lopez and DJ Wilson. After that, then you start talking about the incentives, maybe Donte DiVincenzo. On OKC’s side, they’d love to get a lot of picks and young players.”
Scotto: “At that point, if you’re OKC, you’re signaling you’re fully rebuilding, and you’re going to really start to gut that roster. If you get rid of Chris Paul, Steven Adams will probably be talked about in trades. Dennis Schroeder as well. Danilo Gallinari (free agent) probably wouldn’t be brought back at that point, or you try a sign-and-trade to get him to a certain destination.”
16:00 – Evaluating Milwaukee’s current roster
20:00 – Where Milwaukee ranks in the East if the acquire Paul
23:11 – Are there other trade targets for the Bucks who could make sense?
27:10 – Which teams could make a run at Antetokounmpo in 2021 free agency?
31:40 – The Miami Heat’s chances of landing Giannis
Gozlan: “The interesting thing about how the Heat positioned themselves is that they’ll have a maximum contract slot for 2021, but they’ll also still be able to re-sign Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn while still having Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro still on the roster. Robinson and Nunn have minimum free agent cap holds. They can just keep their Bird Rights, and it won’t cost them anything or take away their max cap space. Bam, who I think is an unbelievable talent and the modern center of what centers will be over the next decade, he deserves a max contract or close to it. Unfortunately, the Heat are not likely to give him the extension now just because then they would lose that cap flexibility to sign Giannis later in 2021. But with the way they positioned themselves, they can hold off on the extension, sign Giannis and then re-sign all those guys I was talking about, including Bam.”
34:28 – The Toronto Raptors’ chances of landing Giannis
Scotto: “They’re going to have an interesting decision with Fred VanVleet. I think Fred is a guy who can command a Malcolm Brogdon type of contract. A couple of general managers I’ve spoken with and executives around the league agree with that.”
37:48 – The Dallas Mavericks’ chances of landing Giannis
Gozlan: “They don’t need to do that much. Under that $125 million projection, they don’t have to do anything. If it’s closer to the $115 million, they’d be around $8 million short. They would just have to trade one guy like Delon Wright, Maxi Kleber, or Seth Curry.”
38:53 – The Golden State Warriors’ chances of landing Giannis
Gozlan: “They have one of the more difficult paths to getting Giannis because they’re not going to have cap space as long as they have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. They’re not going to be able to sign him outright. Their easiest path to getting him would be a midseason trade or a trade during this offseason. What they’re probably hoping to do is trade Andrew Wiggins, whose salary alone will basically equal Giannis’ this year and package the No. 2 pick, the Wolves’ pick and maybe some more future picks. Maybe they throw in Eric Paschall? Throw in everything they’ve got now for Giannis.”
42:53 – The Los Angeles Lakers’ chances of landing Giannis
45:00 – Ranking the teams that can land Antetokounmpo in 2021
MORE: What’s next for Antetokounmpo, Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks? NBA GMs and executives weigh in