Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Bucks and John Hammond chose me in the draft, got me in the NBA, kept me in the team with a role from my very first season and they are my basketball family. Not only that, but already at this young age, they have enough faith in me as a leader and they are doing everything in order to develop all of my potential. From my side, I feel that I want to be playing in the Bucks. I’m not talking about my next contract. The way I feel now, I want to keep playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 20 years! You never know how life turns out. Three years ago I was thinking that I might be playing for Filathlitikos forever! All of a sudden, the draft emerged, the NBA, the Bucks and everything that followed. I don’t know how I’ll be feeling and thinking in 2, 3 or more years. Right now I feel like I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever.
May 24, 2016 | 11:29 am EDT Update
Ainge did admit the team could use a rim protector this offseason, but it won’t be as simple as adding just one piece. “I’m always leery of saying what we need because you don’t just go find a good rim protector, because you lose something. We were the fourth-best defense in the NBA without a rim protector,” he said of the 2015-16 team. “Sometimes you get a rim protector and it hurts your offense. We have some good players, but I think we have to add a few more.”
Ainge also believes Boston should be seen as a viable option for free agents, but cautions that most teams have just as much money to spend in what should be a wild offseason around the league. “There is a lot of money out there because of the new TV contract that is kicking it. It’s going to be challenge and is sort of a new territory for the NBA. I think two-thirds of the league can offer at least one max contract, which has never happened before. We’re a team that can offer two max contracts, but there aren’t that many max contract players on the market. The competition is going to be fierce,” said Ainge. “We have plans that we would like to do and what we’ll do everything we can to try and do, but there are no guarantees in any of that. It’s my job to pull the brakes back and make sure we don’t do something stupid that will hurt our team in the long run.”
Ainge: “Ownership would like to see something happen faster and I know my coaches and players want to see something faster. I’ve been in their positions and I get it, I want to see something faster too. But I have to protect us from doing something irrational from doing something that gets us a little bit better. If it’s something that gets us to being a true championship contender faster, we’re all for it. As long as it’s a sustainable formula and not a one-year quick hit, sacrificing future assets,” he said. “Everything depends on how much money a player wants, how many assets you have to give up to get that person. There are a lot of what ifs, and that’s what we’ll be doing the next six weeks, trying to figure out what’s available to us. The things we like to do we still have to find partners for, which is very challenging.”
May 24, 2016 | 10:56 am EDT Update
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said he hurt himself when he stepped on a referee’s foot near the end of the third quarter, before he sat out the fourth quarter for the second straight game Monday in a Game 4 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Love, who struggled in both losses in Toronto, missed 10 of 14 shots and had only 10 points as the Raptors held off Cleveland 105-99 on Monday night to even the series at 2-2. Love said his knee injury will not prevent him from playing in Game 5 on Wednesday. “I think Kyrie [Irving] was shooting towards the end of the third quarter, and I stepped on the official’s foot, and it didn’t feel too great,” said Love, who had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Games 3 and 4. “More so the knee [than the ankle hurting]. Will be sore tomorrow, but nothing that will prevent me from playing.”