Giannis Antentokounmpo has officially opened the door to eventually join the Los Angeles Lakers, making it clear that he will not sign an extension with the Milwaukee Bucks if they are not aligned with his pursuit to win a title.
Giannis can become a free agent in the summer of 2025 and the Lakers have already been named as a potential team that may entice the former MVP. The Lakers were not alone, though, as the New York Knicks are also considered a potential suitor.
While the Knicks are also a big-market team, they are never going to be able to outbid the Lakers for Giannis.
Why the Knicks have no chance of signing Giannis Antetokounmpo over the Lakers:
1. The difference in perception with the two franchises
The entire reason why Giannis would be a free agent in the first place would be if the Bucks are not doing everything in their power to be a contender. So the No. 1 attribute for Giannis would be joining a franchise that he knows will do whatever it takes to win it all.
New York will say that it will do everything to put together a contender but the team’s track record should be concerning for a superstar like Giannis. There is a reason why superstars have turned down the Knicks countless times in the past, after all.
2. The Knicks’ financial future is muddier than the Lakers
The Knicks’ past is concerning for a superstar like Giannis and the team’s future is just as concerning. While an NBA team can create cap space if it needs to, the Knicks have much less financial freedom than the Lakers have.
The following salaries are on the books for the Knicks in the summer of 2025:
- Julius Randle: $32.4 million (player option)
- Jalen Brunson: $24.9 million (player option)
- R.J. Barrett: $27.7 million
- Josh Hart: $19.4 million
- Mitchell Robinson: $12.9 million
- Donte DiVincenzo: $11.9 million
Randle will definitely opt into the last year of his deal as he won’t get that in free agency. Brunson might opt-out but if he does, he would be chasing an even larger salary, complicating things more for the Knicks.
Meanwhile, outside of Anthony Davis, the only contracts the Lakers have more than $10 million is Rui Hachimura ($18.2 million), Austin Reaves ($13.9 million) and Gabe Vincent ($11.5 million). Two of those (Hachimura and Vincent) are expiring.
3. The Lakers simply have more talent
This is the most simple, yet probably the most important, point of this entire article. While the Knicks have a lot of future money tied up, the team still doesn’t have as strong as a foundation as the Lakers will have when Giannis becomes available.
Anthony will be there to give Giannis an instant superstar teammate. While he might be 90% of what he is now at that point, he is still a superstar and is better than anyone the Knicks have to offer. But it does not stop there, as Austin Reaves is coming into his own and could be a legitimate all-star by the time Giannis can come to LA.
The rest of the roster is admittedly up in the air but those are pieces that can be solved around Giannis. Just having the existing core of Reaves and Davis is huge as it would create a big three that is actually capable of winning it all.