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Haynes: Trail Blazers Were “Secret Team” for Giannis Antetokounmpo Before Supermax

The NBA MVP and Damian Lillard had plans to work out together in the off-season, and might have been open to more.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard are on friendly terms and have at least talked in the abstract about playing together, either with the Portland Trail Blazers or Milwaukee Bucks. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports dropped that bit of info on his latest Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast. The episode focuses primarily on the 2020-21 NBA Season opening, the new-look Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster additions. Sandwiched in between all that is what Haynes termed a “secret team” waiting for the reigning NBA MVP if he didn’t extend in Milwaukee. That team turned out to be the Trail Blazers, with Lillard as the primary reason.

Haynes begins discussing the potential union near the five-minute mark of the show.

If Giannis were to leave Milwaukee, I’m talking about this past summer, before he signed the max extension. If the team didn’t make the necessary moves to make Giannis feel comfortable, I believe there was a team that he would have considered leaving for, and that team is the Portland Trail Blazers. Sources have told me that Giannis and Damian Lillard, they’ve gotten really close over the last few months. And they were talking about working out together.

I want to explain how important that is to everybody. Giannis doesn’t workout with anybody that’s not on his team. He’s turned down working out with LeBron James and turned down being part of the Space Jam 2 movie. He doesn’t do that. Him and Dame were supposed to work out.

I’m trying to be careful how I’m saying this, I don’t want to get to saying it’s recruiting. But sources have told me that both of them were talking with each other about the possibility of what it would look like playing with each other, you know, when their contracts allowed so. I believe Dame was trying to tell Giannis about what it would look like him playing in Portland and same, visa versa, what it would look like him playing in Milwaukee.

After talking about the suitability of the match and the temperament of both players, and reiterating that the issue is moot because of the supermax contract extension signed by Antetokounmpo last week, Haynes emphasized that this was more than a passing fancy.

If Milwaukee didn’t get things in order, Portland was going to be a real target.

The early restart of the season scuttled the workout plans, then Antetokounmpo inked his new, five-year deal.

Check out more on the topic, and many more, in Haynes’ podcast.


Damian Lillard commented on the above Haynes news earlier today, confirming his plans to train with Antetokounmpo. He also said he would have kept a close interest on the two-time MVP’s future plans if he had decided to leave Milwaukee.