Khris Middleton (copy)

Charleston native and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton looks for his shot against Boston Celtics' guard Jaylen Brown during a second-round playoff game on April 30, 2019. Morry Gash/AP

Khris Middleton has always been the thoughtful type — at Porter Gaud School, at Texas A&M, at his popular Charleston summer basketball camps.

So it's not surprising he took time to explain himself after agreeing Sunday to a new five-year, $178 million contract to stay with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Many experts thought Middleton would bolt for the bright lights of a bigger market.

But the 27-year-old forward stayed put alongside NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Anetokounmpo and shared his thoughts in an open letter shared with ESPN's Malika Andrews.

"We have unfinished business here in Milwaukee," Middleton wrote. "This season was a stepping-stone for me personally and for us as a group. I achieved so many firsts on and off the court: I earned my first All-Star appearance; we made the Eastern Conference finals; I became a father.

"But I am not done. We are not done. The goal wasn't to reach the Eastern Conference finals — we are on a mission to win a championship. I want to be a part of that mission, which is why I am staying here in Milwaukee for the next five years."

Middleton could have been an unrestricted free agent but declined his $13 million player option.

Middleton last season averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Not bad for a player who entered the NBA in 2012 as a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons.

"It means a little more to me to work to win a championship with this group in this city because I was there for those darker days," Middleton went on. "Giannis and I have been through it all together. We have been at the very bottom and close to the top. When you rebuild a franchise brick by brick like that, it means a little bit more because you have literally put your blood, sweat and tears into improving. We have been called the worst team. I have been called the worst player in the league.

"I know now that I am a part of something special. It is not every day that a team wins 60 games. Some players will never get to say they accomplished that."

Middleton last season played in the NBA All-Star Game for the first time. And probably not the last.

Gene Sapakoff is a columnist and College Sports Editor at The Post and Courier.

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