Middleton will 'be fine' going from rivals to Olympic teammates with Booker
Middleton doesn't think that will be an issue, though the Bucks star says he has yet to speak to Booker during the first five games of the series.
"Right now, we haven’t said a word to each other" Middleton told USA Today's Mark Medina.
Middleton, Holiday, and Booker are expected to fly to Japan following the NBA Finals and join up with Team USA for the men's Olympic basketball tournament.
"I think we'll be fine," Middleton added. "I'm sure we won't be best buddies during Team USA, but we'll be teammates, for sure. We'll be on the same path, talking basketball X's and O's, trying to get the job done."
Booker echoed Middleton's sentiments, saying "It's never personal between who you're going with, unless lines are crossed."
"Those guys aren't that type and I would never go that way with them, because there's a high respect level for each other. I think that's why we're in the position that we're in right now," he added. "Representing your country is a whole different dynamic than competing against each other in the NBA Finals, but I can always respect somebody that competes at the highest level."
Late withdrawals due to injuries or needing to enter the health and safety protocols have ravaged Team USA. After a compressed 72-game season and a lengthy playoff run, the three Olympians could be forgiven for not wanting to immediately jump on a plane for another competition.
Holiday doesn't see that as a problem.
"I felt like I just wasn't going to stop playing," he said. "Just continue playing basketball, which is what I love to do."
Suns head coach Monty Williams, who was an assistant on the team that won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, says he spoke to Booker "about the privilege of being in that group." Meanwhile, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said he wasn't consulted.
"They both went rogue," Budenholzer said. "They completely iced me out of the decision. Probably smart on their part. And I'm unfortunately serious."
"Those guys could figure it out on their own," Budenholzer continued. "Excited for them and their opportunity. Obviously, a little more interested that their focus is right here with us now, but they're built to handle all this."
Game 6 of the NBA Finals goes Tuesday evening in Milwaukee, while Team USA is scheduled to kick off Olympic play with a group-stage game against France on July 25 in Tokyo.