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#pounditSunday, June 16, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo makes promise to Bucks fans after early playoff exit

Giannis Antetokounmpo on the court

Apr 3, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) gets ready to play the Memphis Grizzlies at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After back-to-back first-round exits by the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is promising better times ahead.

In a post to Instagram on Wednesday, the Bucks star Antetokounmpo addressed the team’s fans for the very first time since their early playoff elimination by the Indiana Pacers. Antetokounmpo promised the fans that the Bucks would “get back to where we belong.”

“Milwaukee, THANK YOU!” wrote Antetokounmpo in the post. “This season didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but I promise you we will get back to where we belong and they’re going to give us our damn flowers.”

Milwaukee, a No. 3 seed, lost this year in six games to Indiana, a No. 6 seed. That came just one season after the Bucks fell victim to an 8-over-1 upset by the Miami Heat in the first round. Antetokounmpo did not play at all in the Pacers series because of a left soleus strain that he had suffered weeks prior.

The former MVP Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the NBA title in 2021, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to interpret Antetokounmpo’s remarks as a promise that the team will return to championship contention. The pathway is there as well since Antetokounmpo recently agreed to a significant new extension with the team that keeps him under contract through at least 2027 (with a player option for 2027-28 too). Veteran running mate Damian Lillard also remains signed through 2026 (with a player option for 2026-27).

But the danger is that the Bucks, as currently constructed, may slowly be aging out of their championship window. Antetokounmpo is still young at 29. But Lillard will be 34 in July, Khris Middleton will be 33 in August, and Brook Lopez recently turned 36 himself. Some fresh roster reinforcements may be needed this offseason, particularly with a few of Milwaukee’s current veterans angling for pay raises.


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