Thanasis Antetokounmpo was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 51st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Thanasis played last season for the Delaware 87ers, the Philadelphia 76ers D-League affiliate. Even though the Knicks drafted him, it was a consensus that the swingman wouldn’t suit up for the Knicks this season. Antetokounmpo is still a raw prospect and it was reported that the Knicks gave him the option to play with their new D-League affiliate in the Westchester Knicks, or play overseas for a season. Shams Charnia of RealGM.com reported that Thanasis decided to play in the D-League for the second straight season. However, there’s a problem.
The always awesome Gino Pilato of DleagueDigest.com uncovered some extremely important information about the Thanasis Antetokounmpo situation. In this article, Pilato explains that even though the Knicks drafted Thanasis, the Delaware 87ers still own his D-League rights, so if he wants to play in the D-League, it would be for the 87ers and not the Westchester Knicks.
If the Knicks want Thanasis to stay with them, then he would have to make his way through training camp, the Knicks can decide to keep him and then assign him to the D-League. However, this means that the Knicks would have to clear a roster spot for him, because if the Knicks cut Antetokounmpo after camp, then his rights would be lost and he would play for the 87ers in the D-League.
Pilato explains this as one of the lone options for the New York Knicks to have Thanasis stay in their franchise:
Because there is a way the Knicks can get Antetokounmpo to Westchester following training camp if he were to get cut. They can trade for his NBA D-League player rights with Philadelphia/Delaware. New York/Westchester can trade their first round, 9th overall pick in the upcoming NBA D-League draft for Antetokounmpo’s D-League player rights. But is that enough for Philadelphia/Delaware? I don’t think so. Could they ask for Westchester’s first and second round draft picks in return of Antetokounmpo’s D-League player rights? It’s never been done, and that seems like a lot.
Interestingly enough, Philadelphia/Delaware finds itself in the driver seat now as they can ask for quite a bit in return for Antetokounmpo’s player rights, because obviously New York wants them
Thanasis’ situation is definitely one to keep an eye out for. It appears the Knicks will have to figure something out in order for him to stay in their system next season. Thansis playing for the 87ers again after being drafted would definitely be a weird sight. Thanks to Gino Pilato (@GinoPilato) for the information.