The Los Angeles Lakers will walk into the 2020-21 NBA season as the presumptive favorites to win the championship, and for good reason.
The Lakers were able to add several talented players to the roster, possibly raising the ceiling on a team that dominated throughout the 2020 NBA playoffs. Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol will all have prominent roles during the season.
Meanwhile, the returns of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Markieff Morris, and Jared Dudley will help keep Los Angeles’ chemistry intact. Their standing heading into the season is vastly different than their outlook prior to the 2019-20 season.
The Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, were considered the overwhelming favorite to win it all but were bounced in five games by the Miami Heat. The letdown prompted intrigue as Antetokounmpo is set to become a free agent, with numerous analysts and league executives believing he will ultimately leave Milwaukee.
The likelihood of Antetokounmpo signing with the Lakers has diminished over the past two days, but he nonetheless views LeBron James in high regard, via Harris Stavrou of 24 Sports:
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ Cosmote TV: "Kobe told me to sacrifice if i want to win and be great. LeBron is the best in the world, MVP is another story, i can tell that he is the best and my idol, he is 17 years in the League".
— Harris Stavrou (@harris_stavrou) December 1, 2020
Antetokounmpo took home this year’s MVP Award over James, but the latter proved that he is still the best player. James captured his fourth title and Finals MVP, and Antetokounmpo acknowledged that he wanted a championship above all else.
However, Antetokounmpo’s praise of James will understandably send some alarms throughout the NBA as the Lakers can create the necessary cap room to sign him as a free agent should he decide he wants to play in L.A.
The candid comments from Antetokounmpo could just be harmless praise, but it is helpful to know how highly he thinks of James.
Antetokounmpo sweepstakes loom large over 2020-21 season
Antetokounmpo has yet to sign the Bucks’ supermax contract extension, meaning his free agency decision could be a talking point throughout the 2020-21 season. Giannis has until Dec. 21 to make such a decision.
Teams like the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Heat and Lakers all could be in the running next summer for Antetokounmpo’s services and it will be interesting to see if he does indeed leave the Bucks.
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