It seems like every year, the Milwaukee Bucks always seem to come up with the question on talks of extending Giannis Antetokounmpo. The entire NBA world has been caught up in Giannis’s comments about the uncertainty of his future, but Bucks teammate Khris Middleton says it’s just comments adding to a list of things Antetokounmpo has been saying for years.
Although Antetokounmpo still has two years left on his contract plus a player option for a third year, the timeline is starting to dwindle and people are starting to wonder if he really will play out the rest of his career in Milwaukee. While Antetokounmpo becomes eligible to sign another contract extension on Friday, Middleton told ESPN in a phone interview that it’s just business as usual.
“It doesn’t affect me personally. I don’t think it affects us as a team. I think this is something he said almost every year he’s come up in contract extension talks.”
Antetokounmpo time and time again has said in the media that he wants another championship for Milwaukee, who have been among the top contenders since their win in 2021, but they have fallen short two years in a row. After losing to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, Middleton knew that something was going to change and was unsure of what the future would be seeing as he was hitting the free agent market.
While the Milwaukee Bucks made changes to their coaching staff, they were able to bring back Middleton and Brook Lopez, two players who are super important for Milwaukee. These next couple of months are going to be question marks on if they’ll be able to thrive once again and bring home another championship to Milwaukee, if Giannis will stay past his contract, and even if the Bucks are going to be able to keep players like Jrue Holiday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July.
Khris Middleton: “He’s one of the best players in franchise history.”
Middleton gave his praises to his fellow teammate when talking about contract extensions. He also understands the pressure and light that Antetokounmpo sits under for being the player that he is.
“We always want him back for sure…We want this guy to come back because he’s one of the best players in the world. He’s one of the best players in franchise history. So when he says things like that, I think he just wants to challenge the team, the organization, to keep putting us in position to win championships..”
Middleton also believes that if they can keep the big-three together and even other players that help make the core of the Milwaukee Bucks, they can bring home several championship titles for seasons to come.
“I feel we have a team that can keep playing, that can play…I wish I could say we could play til we’re 40, and compete for championships. But I think we have a good amount of years left where we could play at a high level and be a contender.”
The Bucks signed Middleton to a three-year contract worth $102 million after he had declined his player option, making him a free agent for a whole week. After dealing with his bouts of injuries, seeing the bounce back of Middleton is going to be something to watch this season. Last season, Middleton only played in 33 games before undergoing a knee surgery earlier in the offseason.
However, with a clean bill of health, having Middleton back regularly will be a huge positive in Milwaukee’s success. Having Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Middleton, Lopez on the court, this team is ready to bring another championship back home.