Report: Knicks guaranteed just $75,000 of Thanasis Antetokounmpo’s contract

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Thanasis Antetokounmpo declined the Knicks’ required tender last season. He then turned down more lucrative overseas offers for a low-paying contract with the Knicks’ D-League affiliate.

That allowed the Knicks to control his development and maintain exclusive negotiating rights with him among NBA teams.

What did he get in return?

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

The Knicks have 13 players with guaranteed contracts plus Langston Galloway, who’s a lock to make the regular-season roster.

That leaves only one regular-season roster spot up for grabs.

In addition to Antetokounmpo, the Knicks gave Darion Atkins and Wesley Saunders partially guaranteed contracts.

Bobby Marks:

In other words, Antetokounmpo will have to earn the vacant roster slot over Atkins and Saunders on the merits. If all three players have similar guarantees, the Knicks won’t have much financial incentive to keep one over the others.

Antetokounmpo has more pro experience than Atkins and Saunders, so maybe he’ll snag the spot. I might even call him a slight favorite.

But if Atkins or Saunders outperforms him in training camp, Antetokounmpo might get just a $75,000 reward for his loyalty to the Knicks over the last year.

This is why I recommend most second-rounders sign the required tender rather than allow teams to stash them. Even if Antetokounmpo had to spend last season in the D-League anyway, he could have negotiated with every NBA team this summer for a more favorable contract. With Antetokounmpo stuck signing with the Knicks or no NBA team, they used their leverage well.