The Knicks will be among teams looking deeply into Giannis Antetokounmpo's market in free agency following the 2020-21 season. But they might have missed their shot already with arguably the best player in the NBA because of their relationship with his older brother, Thanasis.
In 2013, the Knicks drafted Thanasis in the second round with the 51st overall pick. But the elder Antetokounmpo never made a splash in New York, playing only two games (on a 10-day contract) over two years before being released. He would quickly join his brother on the Bucks.
Then, in 2015, Antetokounmpo was vocal about how the Knicks didn't give his brother a fair chance at making it in the league when the Bucks and Knicks were playing in London. That right there, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, could definitely hurt the Knicks' chances at signing him.
"I thought he [would] get called up before the game," he said. "I'm a little disappointed he's not going to play tomorrow against me."
The initial thought even this season was that Antetokounmpo would stay with the Bucks. He said so himself, but with a catch: the Bucks needed to remain a title contender.
Milwaukee had the best record in the league (53-12) when things were suspended due to the coronavirus crisis, so the suspension of play without a definitive restart date in sight to vie for the Larry O'Brien Trophy certainly hurts. Winning a title this year would greatly boost Milwaukee's chances of not losing its franchise player.
The Post is reporting that "the pandemic has changed things so drastically, it's hard to pinpoint Antetokounmpo's future plans."
The Knicks could help themselves if they drafted Alex Antetokounmpo -- the next in the bloodline with NBA aspirations. He's set to come out of Europe in 2021, so that's an option to salvage the missed opportunity with Thanasis.
The big question is whether or not the Knicks will be a 26-year-old, in-his-prime Giannis Antetokounmpo away from contending for a title in two seasons, and the educated guess would be no. There is still much work to be done, but who knows? Maybe new team president Leon Rose can convince the 2019 league MVP otherwise. His relationship and status in the league as an agent is why the Knicks were confident to bring him in.