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The Tuesday Newsletter Extravaganza ... starring (who else?) Giannis
Written and audio coverage of extreme offseason candor from Giannis Antetokounmpo that the Bucks surely didn't want to hear so soon after their expensive summer business
Giannis Antetokounmpo has not (stress: not) asked to be traded by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Antetokounmpo's recent interview with The New York Times' Tania Ganguli nonetheless shook the NBA with perhaps even more force than the recent trade-me demands registered by Portland's Damian Lillard and Philadelphia's James Harden.
Such is the impact when one of the world’s three or five best basketball players so publicly challenges the team that employs him.
As discussed at the end of Monday's lengthy This Week In Basketball column, Milwaukee and frankly the whole league are back on Giannis Watch after a roughly three-season respite now that Antetokounmpo has told Ganguli that he is not interested in signing a contract extension with the Bucks next month when he becomes eligible for a new three-year, $173 million deal ... and maybe not even after the season. Antetokounmpo says he needs to be convinced that the Bucks are back on a championship course.
Say this much for Giannis: He is often willing to be very clear about what’s on his mind … daunting as the resulting commentary surely sounds to an organization that just re-signed Khris Middleton (32) and Brook Lopez (35) to pricey contracts and hired a rookie coach in Adrian Griffin because he was the candidate to replace Mike Budenholzer that Giannis liked best.
The interview demanded an immediate get-together for Turner Sports' Chris Haynes and I for a late August edition of our #thisleague UNCUT podcast. Chris and I went in-depth on Giannis' chat with Ganguli — our fellow former Walt Disney World bubble resident in Orlando — and then proceeded to try to project where NBA TV will choose to send Haynes on Media Day in early October to provide live first-day-of-the-season reports.
The pertinent question, in other words, goes something like this: Which NBA team will be dealing with the most Media Day drama that would necessitate Chris' presence?
Portland ... if the Trail Blazers still have Damian Lillard on their roster on Oct. 2?
Philadelphia ... if the 76ers still have James Harden on their roster on Oct. 2?
Milwaukee now after Giannis' comments?
Or another team?
Click below to check out the full episode and indulge in a wide-ranging discussion that also had us talking about the Warriors, Clippers, Mavericks, Timberwolves and Grizzlies. Along the way we also weaved in the latest on both Harden and Lillard here:
Additional audio for your listening pleasure, from my most recent episode of The Saturday Stein Line on 97.1 The Freak in Dallas over the weekend, can be found here:
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FIBA World Cup viewing
Chris and I kept our discussion focused almost exclusively on domestic matters, so allow me to bring the FIBA World Cup back into today's conversation with a special offer.
Courtside 1891 is a new basketball streaming service and will carry 86 of the 92 games at the World Cup in both English and Spanish — all but six games that are exclusively televised on ESPN2. Viewers can select their preferred language for each broadcast.
And as a bonus: Readers of this Substack can get a 20-percent discount on an annual "Max" pass or a World Cup pass with Courtside 1891 by using the following code: STEIN-20.
(I am told that market restrictions may apply in your area depending on where you reside, but Courtside 1891 is a World Cup broadcasting alternative to ESPN+ if you're looking for one.)
Vincent Collet has been France's national team coach for a remarkable run of nearly 15 years dating to the 2009 EuroBasket. That reign could be in jeopardy now after France's fatal 0-2 start in the World Cup means Collet's team, expected to contend for a medal before playing host to next summer’s Olympics, can finish no higher than 17th.
France has won an unprecedented seven medals under Collet in the most successful run in the country's basketball history. That includes silver at the Tokyo Olympics, bronze at the FIBA World Cup in 2014 and 2019 and a gold (2013), two silvers (2011 and 2022) and a bronze (2015) at EuroBasket.
Fifty-five current NBA players are on FIBA World Cup rosters to establish a league record.
That number rises to 106 when including players on World Cup rosters who possess some NBA experience and those whose draft rights are held by an NBA team.
The tournament also features 10 players with at least one NBA All-Star appearance on their resumés: Luka Dončić (Slovenia), Anthony Edwards (United States), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Rudy Gobert (France), Tyrese Haliburton (United States), Brandon Ingram (United States), Jaren Jackson Jr. (United States), Lauri Markkanen (Finland), Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic) and Nikola Vučević (Montenegro).
Twenty-four of the 32 teams in the World Cup field have at least one current NBA player.
Approaching 20 years since becoming the only country besides the United States to win a gold medal in men's basketball since NBA players began participating in the Summer Games in 1992, Argentina has been eliminated from the 2024 Olympics without even reaching the final round of qualifying.
Former first-round pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, playing for Jordan at the FIBA World Cup, has the highest-scoring game in the tournament so far with his 39 points Monday in an overtime loss to New Zealand. Maybe we have to think about assembling an All-Lefty Team for international play.
Free agent swingman Kelly Oubre, still looking for his next team as free agency approaches, averaged 20.3 points per game for Charlotte last season to narrowly miss out on a top-50 slot among scorers leaguewide. Also still available among free agents: Big man Christian Wood, who averaged 16.6 points per game for Dallas.
Readers in the Dallas area — or those who want to listen online — can catch me live for an hour on Saturdays talking NBA on 97.1 The Freak. The Saturday Stein Line debuted on July 1 and can be found via both Apple Podcasts and Spotify:
The Stein Line is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, please consider becoming a Free or Paid subscriber. Many, many thanks to everyone who has already joined our community to contribute to and fortify this independent endeavor.