Yahoo Sports senior NBA insider Chris Haynes and senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill discuss how a potential offseason workout that didn’t develop could’ve fueled a potential pairing between the All-Stars.
CHRIS HAYNES: If Giannis were to leave Milwaukee-- I'm talking about this past summer before signing the 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 Trailblazers. 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. And I want to explain how important that is to people out there. Like, Giannis doesn't work out with anybody that's not on his team.
Now, the problem with that is, these two are very similar.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Yeah.
CHRIS HAYNES: They-- [LAUGHS] they are very similar. They are not trying to leave, go somewhere else, form a superteam. They don't believe in that. They want to do it their way. But I think, the unique thing-- now, this is not happening. Giannis has signed that supermax, so that's-- this is all in the past and things that transpired. But, you know, I think, if that would have happened, I don't think anybody-- I don't think there would have been any backlash, because it wouldn't have been like Giannis was joining a superteam in Portland or a big market, or Dame joining a super market or joining a superteam. You know, I think people would've looked at that and be like, OK, they're doing this-- this is strictly about basketball, not about the market size or the superstar.
But those things didn't happen, but if Milwaukee didn't get things in order, Portland was going to be a real target.
VINCENT GOODWILL: I mean, think about it like this, Chris. LeBron and Anthony Davis didn't even catch any flack for teaming up, which is exactly what they did, and you're talking about, arguably, the first- and second-best player in basketball, or at worst, two of the top five. You know what I mean? And nobody said boo about that, and they teamed up in LA. They-- they teamed up in the number-one place that guys could team up in. And I think, what we've seen, Chris-- and you can agree with me or not-- what we've seen over the past couple of years, starting back with Kevin Durant, is guys like being in charge. You want to team up? But I think guys like being the kings of their castle. Who was going to say, you know what, I'll come to where you are. You know what I mean?
Was Dame going to say, you know what, I'll come to Por-- I'll leave Portland and everything that I've built here, along with Adidas being in Portland and everything else. You know, I'm going to leave here to go there. Or with Giannis, it would've been like, you know, I'm going to leave Milwaukee and then go to Portland. You know what I mean? Like, that takes a lot, and it sounds like-- I know, to people listening, it doesn't sound like much. But guys, if you look at James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Russell wasn't in charge in Houston. Right? Got up out of there. KD being in Golden State, he wasn't in charge there, so large part, I believe, for him being up out of there.
So as much as guys want to team up and win, guys want to do it on their terms, too. So I can understand both guys sort of looking across the way at each other saying, OK, you're in a small market. He in a small market. We both on franchises that can't seem to get over the hump. Maybe we can pull something off here. But I wonder if it ever would have, you know, gone to the altar. You know what I mean? Maybe they would have been engaged. I don't know if they would have went to the altar and do it.
CHRIS HAYNES: [LAUGHS]
VINCENT GOODWILL: I don't know if you're going to say "I do" and when you got to sacrifice and say, all right, this ain't my squad no more. You know what I'm saying, Chris?
CHRIS HAYNES: Yeah, but those are two-- but those are two-- I hear what you're saying. Ultimately, we'll never know, but those are two guys who really don't have that big of an ego. Like, I think if they got-- if you got them to the altar and, you know-- I think they read their vows. I really do. I think they read their vows to one another. I think it does cross the finish line. But let me say this about the workout. The workout never happened between Dame and Giannis, obviously, because the NBA came back sooner than what everybody expected.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Right, right, right.
CHRIS HAYNES: And so there-- there were plans for those two to get together.