Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks established an outstanding performance in the 2018-19 NBA season, finishing the regular season with the best record in the league and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. The Bucks put themselves in a strong position to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals 2019 after winning the first two games of their best-of-seven series against the Toronto Raptors.
Unfortunately, the Raptors won the next four games and completely eliminated the Bucks in the playoffs. With the season officially over for the Bucks, they are now expected to focus on what they intend to do with their roster in the 2019 NBA offseason. If he will be the one to decide, Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said in a recent interview with Malika Andrews of ESPN that he wants everyone back on the roster for the 2019-20 NBA season.
“I want everyone back,” Antetokounmpo said. “Great fricking team — unselfish players that play basketball the right way. They’re winners. We had a great atmosphere. We didn’t have no — I want to be polite. I want to say the A-word — we didn’t have no buttheads. Obviously, I want everyone back. I am going to let my teammates know that.”
"It's the start of a long journey. We're going to get better and we're going to come back next year and believe in what we've built this year." - Giannis Antetokounmpo pic.twitter.com/7Rd5lq84Y9— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 26, 2019
When the calendar turns into the month of July, six Bucks’ players will be hitting the free agency market. These include Khris Middleton (player option), Malcolm Brogdon (restricted), Nikola Mirotic (unrestricted), Brook Lopez (unrestricted), George Hill (partially guaranteed), Tim Frazier (unrestricted), and Pau Gasol (unrestricted). Of all those incoming free agents, the Bucks’ No. 1 priority will likely be Middleton.
Khris Middleton has earned his first NBA All-Star selection this season after averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.0 steal on 44.1 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. With his size, shooting touch, and scoring ability, Middleton has made himself a great second fiddle to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Though he’s expected to receive plenty of interest in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Bucks are expected to do everything they can to bring Middleton back on their roster.
With their limited salary cap space, it remains a big question mark if the Bucks will consider re-signing all of their own incoming free agents next July. However, the Bucks must be aware that keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo happy should be of paramount, especially knowing that he will be eligible to sign a massive contract extension in the summer of 2020.
Despite failing to reach the NBA Finals this season, Giannis Antetokounmpo is very confident that their current roster has what it takes to bring the Bucks to the top of the league.
“I don’t promise we’re gonna get 61 next year,” Antetokounmpo said. “But we’re gonna put ourselves in a place to be a championship contending team for many more years to come.”