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Agent for Thanasis Antetokounmpo ‘amazed’ his client chose to play in D-League for $25K

Aug 26, 2014, 12:27 PM EDT

thanasis nba draft

When Thanasis Antetokounmpo chose to sign with the Knicks D-League franchise for next season instead of playing overseas, it marked a positive step for a franchise that has historically placed little emphasis on developing young players.

But it also showed a significant commitment on the part of Antetokounmpo.

The D-League doesn’t pay anywhere near what the NBA does, and being selected in the second round of the draft doesn’t come with it a guaranteed contract, or an automatic spot on the roster.

Antetokounmpo clearly wants to join his brother Giannis in playing in the states, however, and gave up a significant amount of money in the short term to do so.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Greek agent for Knicks draft pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo said he’s “amazed’’ his client chose to play in the NBA’s D-League for the $25,000 cap and turn down an offer from an A-Division team in the Italian League, calling it “a big sacrifice.’’

According to agent Tim Lotsos, the Italian club, Varese, offered Antetokounmpo a two-year deal worth $550,000 with an opt-out to join the NBA after one year. Olympiakos in Greece and Sevilla in Spain also offered him deals.

“Amazing isn’t it?,’’ Lotsos told The Post in a phone call from Greece. “To my surprise, he passed on it. He’s very ambitious and determined to make the NBA. It’s a big sacrifice. It could’ve really put him ahead of schedule in his career. I didn’t try to force him. I wanted him to make his own decision.’’

The Knicks currently don’t have any room on the roster to add Antetokounmpo, but a trade or two later in the year could change that. In the event he develops more quickly than expected, he could be called up at some point during the season, and make at least some of the money back that he left on the table to pursue his NBA dreams.

  1. cbking05 - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    ripping him off…owners getting their way once again

  2. pl4tinum514 - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    trade him to the bucks! that’d be fun

  3. geejon - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Wow. You have free agents who choose one city over another $500,000 but because one offered $13.5 mil while another offered “only” $13mil and this guy chose 25 grand over $500,000. Don’t know how smart that is but if he believes it betters his chance to reach the NBA, bless him. Some of those top flight Euro Leagues are much stronger than the D-League so I’m really puzzled but perhaps he just wanted to stay in the states.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      There’s a possibility he could be called up next season if he’s in the D-League… so he could conceivably play half the year in NBDL, and half in the NBA (just an example)… if he goes to Europe, the earliest he can come is in 2015-16.

  4. sdelmonte - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Hey, who wouldn’t want to live in Westchester?

    • dondada10 - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      I’m in the Bronx (Woodlawn) but I tend to agree. Some fantastic bars and restaurants.

  5. 88heatnation - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    I would have got my Cam Newton on and do it for the money…

  6. ravenswhat - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    This smells of Phil Jackson trickery and mind games. How do you turn down half a mill with a one year player opt out for 25k??

  7. csbanter - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Giannis makes a lot of money, and will be in line for a bigger payday in a few years. He probably told his older brother not to worry about things.

  8. dondada10 - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    My understanding is that there’s a third Antetokoumpo. He’s 16-17 and is supposed to be a fantastic prospect.

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