It's long been known that Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri was enamored of Giannis Antetokounmpo heading into the 2013 draft and desperately tried to acquire a pick to select the generational talent - with whom he shares Nigerian roots - before the Milwaukee Bucks scooped him up at No. 15.
On Friday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski offered some insight into just how close Ujiri was to making a deal happen. The Raptors didn't own a first-rounder that year, because they'd traded it to the Houston Rockets a year earlier in exchange for Kyle Lowry. The Rockets wound up trading that pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the James Harden deal, and the Raptors tried to get it back from the Thunder on the eve of Antetokounmpo's draft.
The Thunder might've been amenable to a deal, too, if their prime target hadn't fallen to them at No. 12.
"Masai had a deal in Toronto," Wojnarowski said Friday on "The Woj Pod." "I remember Masai was working with Oklahoma City on a possible trade. I think Oklahoma was at 10 that year and they took Steven Adams. Ten or 11 or 12, somewhere in there. And once Adams made it to the Thunder, there was no trade. But I think if Adams had gotten taken ahead of them, Oklahoma City may have traded out of there, and Toronto would've gotten (Giannis)."
It's unclear what the Raptors would've had to give up in order to pry that pick from the Thunder, but it's a safe bet that it would've been worth it. If only the 76ers had liked Adams more than Michael Carter-Williams.
For the Raptors, missing out on a player like Antetokounmpo will never not sting, but the fact that the pick they would've used to draft him still wound up netting them a four-time All-Star, and arguably the most important player in franchise history, has to soften the blow some.