Brian Windhorst is one of the most veteran NBA journalists in the game today.
After all, we’re talking about a man who covered LeBron James for a Cleveland newspaper when he first made a name for himself as a high schooler in Akron.
His decades of experience covering basketball means he’s incredibly knowledgeable and plugged in, but he also possesses an amount of media savviness that makes him one of the more intriguing and entertaining personalities out there.
That reality was manifested in the now-iconic First Take segment where he teased the Utah Jazz had something big in the works earlier this season shortly before the team executed the blockbuster trade that sent Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves (which retroactively marked the latest of the many coups Danny Ainge as been able to orchestrate while working in an NBA front office).
As a result, if Windhorst hints there might be a major move on the horizon, it’s usually worth listening to what he has to say–which makes the theory he recently floated on Get Up pretty hard to ignore.
On Thursday, the Bucks parted ways with former head coach Mike Budenholzer after his top-seeded squad was eliminated in the first round thanks to a stunning loss at the hands of the Heat.
While there weren’t many NBA fans who saw that upset coming, Windhorst implied Milwaukee’s former owner Marc Larsy may have seen the writing on the wall when he sold the franchise back in February and that fans of the team could be in for a bit of pain in the foreseeable future.
.@WindhorstESPN says there are problems looming over the Bucks 😳
"[Marc Lasry sold] because of the thundercloud that's on the horizon. We are now hearing the first rumblings. … The Bucks are in a quagmire and we have the first move with the firing of [Mike] Budenholzer." pic.twitter.com/6eWjZtBw6A
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 5, 2023
Here’s the theory he floated:
“Let’s say you own an NBA team. Every ticket is sold. Every suite is sold. You own the real estate around the arena. Tenants are sold. You have an MVP in his prime under contract. Why would you sell?
One of the most important things in the NBA happened when the owner of the Bucks, Marc Lasry, sold in the middle of the season because of the thundercloud that is now on the horizon that we are now hearing the first rumbling of.
He sold because he knew there were problems coming. It wasn’t because of anything the Bucks did or any mistake; when a team like this in a mid-market competes for five or six years, there becomes pressure.
Giannis has a contract extension this offseason. He’s under contract for two more years. If he doesn’t sign that extension: orange light. We’ve got problems.
They’ve got two free agents in their 30s—Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton—with the repeater tax starting for them next year and a bunch of new rules…set up to penalize high-salary teams, hamstringing them, and they have to decide on a coach and whether to pay two 30-year-olds.”
Windhorst stated he thinks the Bucks will do everything in their power to bring Giannis back, but if history is any indication, his warning means it’s worth keeping a very close eye on what unfolds in Milwaukee.