LOS ANGELES – Eric Bledsoe had an eventful day.
On Friday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks guard agreed to a four-year, $70 million contract extension.
Hours later, he dropped a season-high 31 factors and lifted the Bucks to a 131-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, guaranteeing a playoff berth for the Bucks.
Eric Bledsoe signed an extension with the Bucks on Friday. Additionally, his crew secured a playoff spot after defeating the Lakers. Picture by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE by way of Getty Photographs
The Bucks now depart southern California with 48 wins on the season. That win complete is their most since 2001, the final time Milwaukee made it out of the primary spherical of the playoffs
Nonetheless, after the sport, the Bucks appeared extra targeted on celebrating Bledsoe’s payday — in addition to the addition of veteran Pau Gasol, who has been cleared to hitch the Bucks after agreeing to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.
Bledsoe, typically extra reserved and soft-spoken, fielded questions from reporters for 10 minutes after the win. He cracked jokes with a smile plastered on his face and professed: “I’m simply comfortable to be a Buck.”
“We’re competing for one thing,” a giddy Bledsoe mentioned. “I simply wish to be part of that. It means loads.”
Bledsoe additionally added 9 rebounds and 5 assists for the Bucks. He was traded to the Bucks from the Phoenix Suns in November 2017. Since then, Bledsoe has labored with the teaching workers to chop down on turnovers and switch up his power on protection.
When requested concerning the extension of his teammate, Giannis Antetokounmpo mentioned that he was glad to have the purpose guard signed long run.
“It is an amazing feeling,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “Nice having Bledsoe on the identical crew for the subsequent 4 years. He deserves it. He is carried out every thing the crew wished him to do. Unbelievable chief.”
Nikola Mirotic mentioned that he wasn’t even conscious that the win cemented the Bucks’ spot within the submit season.
“Oh wow,” Mirotic mentioned when he discovered. “It’s nice information. We do not wish to chill out. We’ve got – what number of? – 20 video games left. Clearly we’re very comfortable for Bledsoe. The Bledsoe present continues.”
Khris Middleton informed ESPN that two years in the past, clinching the playoffs would have been a major milestone. This 12 months, the Bucks have greater targets: coming into the playoffs with aggressive seeding and making it out of the primary spherical.