Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo made it very clear this offseason that he wanted the organization to be as committed to winning as he was in order to sign a long-term deal with Milwaukee.
While Antetokounmpo still has no plans to sign an extension in 2023 (he can make far more money if he waits until next offseason), he says he’s “happy” following the Bucks’ blockbuster trade for All-NBA guard Damian Lillard.
“Big trade having Dame here,” he said, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link). “We added another level to our team…They’ve shown they’re committed to winning a championship. I’m happy.”
“I want to be a Milwaukee Buck for the rest of the my career, as long as we are winning…the commitment from the team for me, is there,” Antetokounmpo added, according to ESPN’s Jamal Collier (Twitter link).
Here some more notes from the Bucks’ Media Day session:
- According to Nehm (Twitter link), Antetokounmpo says he and Lillard have a similar mentality. “Having a guy like Dame on the team, it’s unbelievable…Built from the same cloth,” Antetokounmpo said. “Wants to win, he’s extremely hungry.”
- Lillard believes he and Antetokounmpo will complement each other on the court as well, tweets Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “I’m the best version of myself as a player,” Lillard said. “So I think we’ll complement each other really well. I think he’s the kind of guy that he’s not going into it worried about being the man or anything like that either. So I think it’ll work out perfectly.”
- Antetokounmpo once again praised former teammate Jrue Holiday, who was sent to Portland in the Lillard deal and then was traded to Boston yesterday. “We’re definitely going to miss him… He’s always going to be a champion forever. He’s always going to be my friend, the best person I’ve ever met,” he said, per Nehm (Twitter link).
- Center Brook Lopez talked about free agency this summer, as Nehm of The Athletic relays (Twitter links). The big man eventually returning to the Bucks on a two-year, $48MM deal. Lopez prioritized “finding the place that I had the best chance to win and finding a place where I was valued,” adding that Milwaukee “was the only place I really wanted to be…(re-signing) means everything to me.”
- If they’re invited, both Lopez and Khris Middleton would like to play for Team USA in the 2024 Olympics, Nehm tweets.
- Speaking of Middleton, he says he’s fully healthy following offseason knee surgery, according to Nehm (Twitter link). The three-time All-Star was limited to 33 regular season games in 2022/23 after undergoing wrist surgery in the 2022 offseason and then being bothered by his right knee. “I feel great,” he said. “Don’t have the pain that I had last year. It was a decision that was made halfway through the season that I was going to have to get it fixed. It wasn’t a hard decision at all.”