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.
Throughout Antetokounmpo’s decision-making process, Phil Jackson and Steve Mills reaffirmed their long-term vision for the 22-year-old forward, sources said. The Knicks have a full roster of guaranteed contracts at 15.
Antetokounmpo – the older brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo – was New York’s 51st overall selection in the NBA Draft in June. Thanasis Antetokounmpo showcased his defensive activity in five summer league appearances for the Knicks, and he averaged three points and nearly two rebounds per game.
Louis Labeyrie, the Knicks’ No. 57 pick in the draft, will continue to develop with his French team in Paris and could start discussions on an NBA contract next summer, a source told RealGM.
A scouted talent out of Greece, Antetokounmpo started his professional career a year ago with Delaware of the D-League. He averaged 12 points and 4.6 rebounds in 50 games for Delaware.