It has certainly been an interesting summer for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks, who had the best record in the NBA, were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat after their best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, got injured.
Since then, he has been outspoken about his future with the team. That has led to speculation that he could leave Milwaukee in the offseason of 2026 if they can’t compete with him as their best player.
In fact, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday could be a deciding factor in whether Giannis stays or leaves in the summer of 2026.
If true, that would be a surprising reason, but Giannis has twice made comments this summer, stating that he would leave Milwaukee if they weren’t able to build around him.
Jrue Holiday may be the Milwaukee ‘ X factor” for keeping Giannis.
As Marks points out, Holiday, who has two seasons remaining on his contract, can sign an extension during next season. However, that could prove to be a bad contract, and there is no guarantee that he would play beyond his current deal. After all, he has already played 14 seasons, and Holiday has already stated that he might retire after his 16th season.
What happens if he sticks to that plan? Would Giannis leave the following summer if the Bucks couldn’t somehow replace him? Given that they have few assets remaining, they would be hard-pressed to do so, and, if Marks is right, that might open the door for him to leave in free agency. He would have plenty of teams eager to sign him, which might force the Bucks to trade him before it gets to that point.
Overall, while Holiday may be an X factor in Milwaukee keeping Giannis, it seems that he is more concerned with the Bucks keeping the talent level around him high. If Holiday does indeed retire, then the Bucks better have another option or risk Giannis leaving.