After Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke out about his NBA future, all eyes were on him. Now star teammate Khris Middleton shared his thoughts on the Bucks superstar’s future.
In a recent interview on ESPN, Middleton spoke about Antetokounmpo and explained what he believes is the reason behind the superstar’s statements. The comments may sound like a hint of a future departure, but in Middleton’s opinion, the two-time MVP’s business mentality is the reason behind his statements. Giannis should aim to put pressure on the Bucks to do everything possible in roster planning to keep the team competitive for a title win.
Antetokounmpo had already made a similar statement himself:
“I’m a Milwaukee Buck, but most importantly I’m a winner. … If there is a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien I have to take that better situation.”
Giannis on his future with the Bucks. pic.twitter.com/XzucRXtmOv
“I think either way it’s normal,” Middleton said. “It doesn’t affect me personally. I don’t think it affects us as a team. I think that’s something he brings up almost every year in contract extension discussions.”
Middleton: “He is one of the best players in franchise history”
Middleton, who was with the Bucks for all 11 Giannis years, speaks to Antetokounmpo’s comments as a challenge for himself and the team. You want to develop further.
Antetokounmpo, a potential free agent in the summer of 2024, could reshape the balance of power within the NBA if Milwaukee, the 2021 NBA champion, fails to present him with an appropriate contract. The 28-year-old still has a contract term of two years plus a player option for a third year and can sign a further contract extension until October 23rd (one day before the start of the new season).
Middleton said: “He is one of the best players in franchise history. When he says things like that, I think he just wants to challenge the team and the organization to continue to be able to win championships. But I think it’s just something he wants to keep putting pressure on everyone and that’s typical of him.
“He doesn’t just point the finger at everyone else and say, ‘You have to do this for me.’ I think he puts pressure on himself to get better, to be great every year. So there’s no pressure or there’s no added pressure when he tells us as a team or me as a person that I need to get better.”
Bucks: Jrue Holiday’s contract also expires
While Middleton may be stating the obvious in some ways, the decisions the Bucks leadership makes over the next few months will likely play a big role. Jrue Holiday, an immensely important part of the team, will be a free agent next year. Giannis will definitely want to keep him and will probably base his decision on whether Holiday, or players like Holiday, are kept and the team can go to a title.
After the season ended unexpectedly early in round one of the playoffs against the Heat, Milwaukee has since taken several steps to improve the team; They included replacing coach Mike Budenholzer with Adrian Griffin and extending the contracts of Middleton and center Brook Lopez – a starter on the ’21 title team – to three- and two-year extensions, respectively. Antetokounmpo should have liked that.
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