Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has made waves recently by saying he will only remain with the Bucks if they compete for championships.
Considering they just lost in the first round of the playoffs … well, eyebrows officially have been raised.
But one player who says he’s not overly concerned is no less than Bucks forward Khris Middleton. At least, that’s what Middleton told Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
“I think it’s kind of business as usual either way,” Middleton told Bontemps. “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.
“We always want him back for sure. Let’s be for sure and let everyone know that. 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.
“But I think it’s just something that he just wants to keep putting pressure on everybody. And that’s himself also. He’s not just pointing a finger at everybody else saying, ‘You guys have to do this for me. I think he’s putting that pressure on himself to be better, to come in and be great every year. So there’s no pressure on, there’s no added pressure when he says that to us as a team, or me as a person, that I have to be better.”
Antetokounmpo and the Bucks did make one big change during the offseason, hiring Adrian Griffin to replace Mike Budenholzer as coach. They weren’t overly active in free agency, with the addition of shooting guard Malik Beasley being their only notable move.
But the confidence is surely there for a team that won the championship in 2021.
Now, to keep Antetokounmpo happy, all the Bucks have to do is get back to that level. Middleton sounds as if he likes their chances.
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