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Report: Thanasis Antetokounmpo chooses Knicks D-League team over playing in Europe next season

Aug 21, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT

thanasis nba draft

The Knicks selected Thanasis Antetokounmpo with the 51st overall pick in June’s NBA draft, but it was unclear whether he would play for the team this season.

It seemed certain that the younger brother of Milwuakee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo would end up in Europe next season, as New York considered him somewhat of a development project, and wouldn’t commit to saving him a spot on the roster.

But a compromise of sorts has apparently been reached, and it’s one that will keep Antetokounmpo stateside next season.

From Shams Charania of RealGM:

After mulling between the NBA Development League and European clubs, New York draft pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo has decided to play next season with the Knicks’ affiliate in Westchester, sources told RealGM.

Antetokounmpo considered several significant contract offers in Europe if he elected to pass on a consecutive season in the D-League, but Knicks management made clear that it hoped Antetokounmpo would remain within the organization in 2014-15.

For now, the Knicks plan for Antetokounmpo to sign directly with Westchester, meaning no training camp deal, sources told RealGM. This allows the Knicks to maintain his rights into the D-League, leaving him off the available market as a free agent should he be released in camp participation.

This is a positive step under Phil Jackson and the new regime in the Knicks front office, as the team has historically ignored long-term development opportunities with draft picks or younger, not-yet-ready players.

Antetokounmpo played in the D-League last season, and averaged 12 points and 4.6 rebounds in 50 appearances.

  1. tomtravis76 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Make the D league a real minor league. The NBA needs to have a d league team for every franchise. Why wouldn’t you want your young talent learning your systems?

  2. udkidd - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    He is the older brother if Giannis not the younger brother.

  3. dondada10 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    “This is a positive step under Phil Jackson and the new regime in the Knicks front office, as the team has historically ignored long-term development opportunities with draft picks or younger, not-yet-ready players.”

    I’m not sure where that comes from. The Knicks have actually had a nice history in the past decade, starting with the Isiah Thomas regime, of drafting and developing young players–Trevor Ariza was a second round pick for the Knicks; Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson way back when. Granted that traded a bunch for Melo and let some guys walk but let’s not act like they’re only signing guys.

    Also, how many teams besides the Knicks have their own D-League team? Can’t be more than 14 or so.

  4. charlescub80 - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    Now we can sit back and just wait till the championships start rolling in!

  5. jolink653 - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    They flipped Trevor Ariza for the fossil that was Steve Francis, thus bailing on him before he could develop at all. They also panicked and dumped Gallinari and Chandler, both of whom seemed to be developing in good players, when they felt like they had to get Melo. When is the last time they actually drafted a player and stuck with him for a decent amount of time? Believe it or not, in between the Renaldo Balkmans and the Mardy Collins, the Michael Sweetneys and the John Wallaces, they’ve had some pretty good players that they got rid of. I’m glad they’re gonna at least give this kid a chance to play against semi-NBA competition and see what he’s got. Maybe he could be a solid piece in the future

    • dondada10 - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      David Lee. Nate Robinson. Fields until he walked. They’re the team that gave Lin his first real chance. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert presently. Trading for Shane Larkin.

    • genericcommenter - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      29 is young for a fossil, but the dude does look about 80 now.

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