Khris Middleton not phased by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s recent comments regarding future
Coming off a very disappointing end to the 2022-23 season, Milwaukee Bucks star forward Khris Middleton is not at all phased by Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s recent comments about potentially wanting to leave Milwaukee in the near future.
“I think it’s kind of business as usual either way,” Middleton said, according to ESPN NBA insider Tim 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.“
Antetokounmpo recently said on the “48 Minutes” podcast that if a better situation appeared to win an NBA Title, he would “have to take that situation.”
He has three more years left on his five-year supermax contract he signed ahead of 2020-21. He is set to make $45.6 million this year, $48.8 million next year capped by a $51.9 million player option in 2025-26, according to Spotrac. He will be extension eligible Friday, even though he’s unlikely to sign it.
“We always want him back for sure,” Middleton said. “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.”
Middleton, who was limited to only 33 regular season games last year, re-signed with Milwaukee this offseason on a three-year, $93 million deal that could be worth up to $102 million. Jrue Holiday is on the books for $36.9 million this year followed by a $39.4 million player option next season, so the Bucks will theoretically have their Middleton-Holiday-Antetokounmpo core together for at least one more year.
The Bucks are still one of the favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference, but they also still own one of the oldest rosters in the NBA. They didn’t do much to get younger outside of signing 26-year-old sharpshooter Malik Beasley — one of the most underrated additions this offseason.
They also don’t have a tradeable pick until 2029–though they will be eligible to trade three first-round picks (2024, 2029, 2031) at next year’s draft. That could be an opportune time to cash in and get younger if they don’t choose to at the trade deadline.
Regardless, this will be a fascinating situation to monitor, especially if Milwaukee bottoms out yet again this upcoming season.
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