Grade the trade: Hawks’ best potential offer for Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

Atlanta Hawks, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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"Atlanta Hawks, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports"

The Atlanta Hawks had eyes for Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo before former head coach Larry Drew bolted for Milwaukee and drafted the eventual two-time MVP and NBA champion with the No. 15 overall pick in 2013.

More than a decade later, the Hawks may have a second chance at landing Antetokounmpo following ominous remarks about his future in Milwaukee.

He is extension eligible but suggested he could let his contract expire.

“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do,” Antetokounmpo said, per Tania Ganguli of the New York Times on August 24. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”

The Hawks should throw almost everything at Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Proposed 3-team Hawks trade brings Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo to Atlanta

Hawks get:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.

Bucks get:

  • Kobe Bufkin
  • AJ Griffin
  • De’Andre Hunter
  • Jalen Johnson
  • Dereck Lively II
  • 2024 first-round pick (Top-14 protected, via SAC)
  • 2030 first-round pick
  • First-round pick swaps (2024, 2028, 2031)

Mavericks get:

  • Clint Capela
  • Second-round picks (2025 via MIN, 2027 via LAC)

This deal gets Antetokounmo to Atlanta as Milwaukee loads up on assets. While Dallas would lose a prospect in this scenario, it gets the big man it has coveted in Capela and unloads the remaining $34-plus million on Hardaway’s four-year, $75 million contract.

Every team also saves money in the above scenario thanks in part to the $25.3 million traded player exception the Hawks have from trading John Collins to Atlanta. With rival executives believing smaller markets could have a better chance at appealing to Antetokounmpo, the Hawks should be among them.

It’s a steep price to pay, and the risk is right there given Antetokounmpo’s style of play. But the potential reward is undeniable, particularly with what the Hawks could still have left after a deal.