Giannis Antetokounmpo should be happy with this news.
Antetokounmpo’s agent, Tim Lotsos, told ESPN.com in a phone interview last week that Antetokounmpo’s “first goal” is to come back to the Knicks. But he’s also looking for an NBA contract.
Lotsos said the Knicks have indicated that they want to sign Antetokounmpo to an NBA contract and give him a spot on the roster.
“There is nothing on paper yet, but those are the intentions,” the agent said, adding that Antetokounmpo plans to play on the Knicks’ summer league team.
To keep Antetokounmpo’s rights, the Knicks must offer him a one-year contract (surely an unguaranteed minimum deal of $525,093).
At that point, the ball is in Antetokounmpo’s hands. He can accept the required tender, negotiate a different deal with the Knicks or sign outside the NBA. If he accepts the tender, the Knicks can either keep him for a year or waive him. Antetokounmpo might end up with nothing through that route, but he can at least force the Knicks’ hand to keep him on their team or give him the freedom to seek an NBA contract elsewhere.
The Knicks should probably just sign him. They’re short on young talent, and though Thanasis is probably overhyped due to New York’s media presence and his brother’s standout play, he’s still young talent.
Best of all, if Antetokounmpo signs a minimum contract, he wouldn’t eat at all into New York’s cap space. (He’d just be swapping in for a roster charge.)