It was fun while it lasted, but the Warriors have to let the dream go.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is not coming to Golden State.
The Bucks agreed to two big trades Monday night, acquiring Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans and Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Kings. Both moves sent a clear signal to Giannis: We’re in it to win it.
We’ll see if they convince him to sign a supermax extension before the season, but it’s certainly looking more likely.
Regardless, the trades also sent a clear message to the rest of the NBA: The Bucks aren’t trading their superstar.
If Giannis exits Milwaukee, the Bucks franchise is going down with him.
And if he leaves, he’s exiting via free agency, which means the Warriors — who will be cap-strapped until the end of the Stephen Curry era — are no longer a realistic landing spot.
Even if the Warriors were to attempt to trade for Giannis (pending his pass on that supermax contract), it’s unlikely that they have enough assets to actually entice Milwaukee.
The Bucks just traded away three first-round picks and two first-round draft swaps for Holiday. Now, the combo guard is a nice player and fringe All-Star, but that’s a preposterous price.
It should also be noted that the Blazers sent two first-round picks to Houston on Monday for Robert Covington, who, again is a nice player, but not one I believe has ever been in the conversation for making the All-Star Game.
I understand that the Bucks and Blazers are desperate, but if that’s the going rate on those players, you have to double it — at the very least — for Giannis.
Inflation is no friend of the Warriors here.
There’s also a general misconception of how much draft capital the Warriors have moving forward.
Golden State has its own first-round picks in the next three years and Minnesota’s first-round pick next season, but not all of those picks are moveable because of that pesky Stepien Rule, which forbids teams from having no first-round pick in two consecutive drafts.
The Warriors also traded away their 2024 first-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the Andre Iguodala salary dump last summer. That prevents the Dubs from trading away their 2023 first-round pick and them from trading a first-round pick until two years after that pick is conveyed. It has a three-year window.
Even if Giannis and the Bucks had a massive change of heart come mid-season, Golden State doesn’t look to be in a position to offer enough to land a generational player.
With that dream effectively dead, what should the Warriors do?
What else can they do but move onto more realistic options?
Players like Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons.
Or, the Warriors can actually make the draft picks they have coming down the pipe, add some intriguing young prospects to play along with the team’s veteran core, and pass up another chance to be the overlords of the league in favor of being a team with a steady, strong baseline of success.
In a league as chaotic as the NBA, fiscally responsible sustainability might be the new “light-years ahead.”
©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)