In a conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry admitted that he was “very pissed off” after his team fell to the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals last spring. Lasry said he fully believed Milwaukee was headed for the NBA Finals after the club took a 2-0 lead in the series and was “pretty upset” when the Raptors won the next four straight games.
“We had a lot of meetings with (GM) Jon (Horst) and with Bud (head coach Mike Budenholzer), and it’s, ‘OK, what happened?'” Lasry said. “And you know, you sort of look at how they shot lights out. I mean (Fred) VanVleet shot – what was it? – 60 or 70 percent from 3-point land? You (had) guys who weren’t supposed to make those shots, or at least shoot their average – not double the average.”
While it took Lasry some time to get over that loss, the Bucks’ hot start to the 2019/20 season has certainly helped the club and its owners move on. It has also limited speculation about the future of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is under contract through next season. If the Bucks had struggled out of the gate, we might be hearing a lot more whispers about Antetokounmpo’s next contract right now.
In his discussion with Amick, Lasry addressed that topic and a handful of others. Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:
On the fact that there hasn’t been constant speculation from fans and media about the Bucks’ future:
“People want issues, and we don’t have any issues. And you know what, we didn’t have any issues last year either. If you think about it, we had four free agents (from last season). You had Khris Middleton, you had (Eric) Bledsoe, you had Brook Lopez, and then you had Malcolm (Brogdon). And you know, we re-signed who we needed to re-sign. So I think the great thing about the Bucks, good or bad, is that there’s very little drama. And I think we have surprised people with the lack of drama, and how good we are.”
On whether Bucks ownership has sought advice on retaining Antetokounmpo from others who have been in similar situations:
“No. No. I think the approach is that you have a relationship, and you rely on that relationship. So, you know, at the end of the day, my view is that people are going to do what they think is in their best interests. And I hope their view ends up being the same as our view, right? We’re going to do whatever we can. Others will do whatever they can. It’s fine.”
On not getting caught up in rumors about other teams eyeing Antetokounmpo:
“Whether it sounds dumb or not, I’m very comfortable with the relationship that we have with everybody on this team. And I think at the end of the day, what players want is stable ownership. They want a culture which is focused on winning. They want a coach who they respect. They want to play in a city that they love. It’s what we all want. Let’s be serious. You just want consistency, and you want to know that what you’re being told is reality. So I think as long as we do what we’re supposed to do, everything is going to be fine.”