The Milwaukee Bucks lost Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night to fall to 0-2 in the series – a development that has sent the all-too-familiar "is Giannis Antetokounmpo on his way out? COULD HE BOLT FOR THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS???" news cycle spinning.

Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP and front-runner to win the award again this season, has a long paper trail connecting him to the Warriors, and the television pundit class has already added the Giannis situation to the trough of daily debate topics.

While Antetokounmpo-to-the-Warriors seemed like a semi-plausible scenario a few months ago, recent developments are decidedly not in Golden State's favor. As it stands today, the Greek Freak teaming up with Stephen Curry at Chase Center is very much a pipe dream.

Off the bat, the coronavirus pandemic and the financial uncertainty surrounding each team's ability to make big moves in the near future are working against Golden State. The Warriors have one of the largest payrolls in the NBA, and even in normal times, an acquisition of Antetokounmpo – by way of either a trade or outright signing when his contract expires in 2021 – would require moving on from two of Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

And now, revenue losses brought on by the pandemic and associated salary cap decreases could force the team to move on from all three players, something general manager Bob Myers may not be inclined to do, especially with Antetokounmpo's shooting deficiencies on full display in his series vs. Miami. Furthermore, if the salary cap decreases as expected, the Milwaukee Bucks, by nature of their unchanged-by-the-pandemic ability to offer Giannis a five-year, $254 million supermax contract extension, will be able to present a much better contract than other interested suitors.

The other development that clearly harms the Warriors is a report from Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill in which he writes it's an "open secret" in the Orlando bubble that the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors are "the frontrunners in the Antetokounmpo sweepstakes."

This bit of bubble gossip checks out for two reasons. First, if Giannis becomes a free agent in 2021 and tries to sign somewhere outright or through a sign-and-trade, the Heat and Raptors will have an easier time clearing salary; it'll be an enormously difficult task finding separate suitors for the large contracts of Thompson, Green and Wiggins, especially with other teams also eating revenue losses brought on by the pandemic.

Secondly, if Milwaukee decides to trade Antetokounmpo this offseason out of fear that he walks in summer 2021, both Toronto and Miami have cheaper and more appealing young assets to send back to a team that would be more inclined to rebuild than acquire aging stars. The Raptors can offer the Bucks all-star forward Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet, while the Heat can offer all-star big man Bam Adebayo, talented rookie Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. The best players under 30 the Warriors have are Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, possibly the second overall pick in a weak draft if it's not traded away for a veteran, and... Jordan Poole? Damion Lee?

The speculation is fun (or obnoxious, if you root for literally anyone besides the Warriors), but under the current circumstances, Giannis-to-the-Warriors chatter can and should be classified as vacuous hot-take-television territory.

Eric Ting is an SFGATE reporter. Email: – Twitter:@_ericting


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