Khris Middleton on Giannis’ Bucks comments: ‘We want him back’


Khris Middleton would be ecstatic to see Giannis Antetokounmpo remain in a Milwaukee Bucks uniform for the foreseeable future. However, the two-time MVP is also serious about winning another championship. Antetokounmpo, 28, made that point clear in recent interviews.

“I think it’s kind of business as usual either way,” Middleton told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps in a phone interview. “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.”

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“We always want him back for sure. Let’s be for sure and let everyone know that,” Khris Middleton added. “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. … I think it’s just something that he just wants to keep putting pressure on everybody. And that’s himself also.”

Khris Middleton says the Milwaukee Bucks would welcome Giannis Antetokounmpo back with open arms, hopes the Greek star will sign an extension soon

In December 2020, Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a five-year, $228.2 million contract extension with Milwaukee. His multi-year deal includes a 15% trade kicker. He earned $42.49 million last season and is slated to make $45.64 million in 2023-24.

The seven-time All-Star becomes eligible for a three-year, $173 million extension this Friday. The Greek Freak has spent his entire 10-year career with the Bucks. If he declines his 2024-25 player option, he’ll become a free agent next summer.

“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,” Middleton mentioned. “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.”

Last season, Antetokounmpo appeared in 63 games with the Bucks, averaging a career-high 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 55.3% from the field.

In Milwaukee’s 123-113 victory over the Washington Wizards on Jan. 3, 2023, the forward scored a career-high 55 points in 37 minutes of action. He finished 20-of-33 (60.6%) shooting from the floor and 15-of-16 (93.8%) at the foul line.

The five-time All-Defensive member was the only player in 2022-23 to be named unanimous All-NBA First Team. He also became the first player over the last 50 years to receive this honor by a unanimous vote in five straight seasons.

Khris Middleton and the rest of Milwaukee would miss Antetokounmpo, if he were to ever leave. In 2021, the Bucks won their first NBA title in 50 years. Without the Greek star, the Bucks would no longer be a title contender.

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