Back here one last time. Weird to see the court empty. pic.twitter.com/XCjLb0xzBH— Kane Pitman (@mkebucksaus) May 27, 2019
It is said that all good things must come to an end. And this season, the Milwaukee Bucks were very much a good thing. Going 60-22 during the regular season, they were legitimately the best team in the NBA. Until they got beat, that is, by the Toronto Raptors. While Drake and company prepare to do battle in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, the Bucks have some housekeeping to attend to, including clearing out the locker room to start summer vacation.
Headlining the group was, of course, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The presumptive NBA MVP spoke at length to reporters (Part 1 | Part 2) and covered the type of ground one would expect covered: how he wants to improve, how the team can improve, how he wants everyone back, and how they want to build upon the success of this season.
Brook Lopez was his normal, gregarious self with the press, including the requisite off-topic pop culture reference. However, Lopez did remark that he had an excellent experience in Milwaukee, and that he’d absolutely love to come back. Ditto for George Hill, who was highly complimentary of the Bucks and went out of his way to mention that money was not a priority. He also went out of his way to call out the Packers’ David Bakhtiari:
The battle we didn't know we needed. @George_Hill3 vs. @DavidBakhtiari.— Stephen Watson (@WISN_Watson) May 27, 2019
"I'm probably a Top-10 shotgunner of all-time probably. I'd for sure beat him. We'll have a battle. I just have to get to Lambeau first."
On the flip side, more customary responses were given by Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, who also have uncertain futures in Milwaukee. Middleton, who has a player option he’s sure to exercise, had all the right things to say about his teammates and what he wants to do, but he was clear to call out that he’s going to prioritize the well-being of his family above all else when it comes to any free agency negotiations. And Malcolm Brogdon, one of the more well-spoken players in the league, had less to say:
Asked how he thinks his upcoming restricted free agency will go this summer, Malcolm Brogdon was short.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) May 27, 2019
“I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Of course, everything said by everyone is posturing on some level, so it’s hard to take these words with anything short of a heaping helping of salt. Still, these exit interviews being held so soon after the Eastern Conference Finals loss is as close as fans will get to gleaning the players’ state of mind, and everyone seems to be on the same page when it comes to how they feel about the close of this season and what they’ll want from the next...if they’re in Milwaukee, that is.