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New York Knicks Looking to Re-Acquire Kostas Papanikolaou from Portland Trail Blazers

June 27th, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

The New York Knicks drafted Kostas Papanikolaou with the 48th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He was expected to join the team this coming season but was instead included in the Portland Trail Blazers deal to land Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas. However, with Papanikolaou not being a part of Portland's plans, the Blazers are looking around for possible trade partners interested in Papanikolaou's services. The Knicks are one such team looking into possibly acquiring him.

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Kostas Papanikolaou currently plays for Olympiakos in Greece. His contract has a $1.1 million buyout in it that could allow him to come to the NBA next season. Papanikolaou is a solid defender and shooter who has shot three-point shots very well. He's made over 50 percent of his attempts beyond the arc in Euroleague play.

That being said, he wants to come to America and if the Trail Blazers aren't going to employ him they'll have to trade him somewhere. In fact, Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest reports Papanikolaou's agent, George Sfairopoulos, says the likely scenario is Portland opting to trade Papanikolaou's rights.

“As of now, we don't have any sign that leads us to believe that Kostas will go to Portland,” Sfairopoulos told CSNNW.com. “Therefore, we believe that he will not be in the plans of the organization next season and probably will be traded.”

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports the Knicks may be the team to acquire, or re-acquire, Papanikolaou's rights.
The Knicks have offered future second-round picks and future considerations (cash) to Portland in an attempt to regain the rights to small forward Kostas Papanikolaou, according to sources.
 
The Trail Blazers have rebuffed the Knicks and were asking for their 24th pick in a swap with Portland’s 39th pick Thursday night to pony up the 6-foot-9 Greek. Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald isn’t looking to give up his first-round pick, though some draft experts consider the 24-to-39 range rather comparable in a draft weaker than last season’s.

'Portland Trail Blazers' photo (c) 2009, SoulRider.222 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The biggest issue with this trade is of course that the Knicks aren't allowed by NBA rules to trade their first round pick. However, the teams could agree on a deal on or before draft night and complete it after June 30. That's when the Knicks would be allowed to trade the rights of the 24th pick.

What will be interesting to see is how much the Knicks covet Pananikolaou. After all, they did get him with the 48th pick last year so to give up a first round pick this draft to re-acquire him would seem a bit of an overpayment. That being said, this is a weaker draft than last year's crop and scouts say Papanikolaou has improved.

That being said, the Knicks have had luck with Euro's lately and Papanikolaou is only 22 years old. If Glen Grunwald were to pull the trigger on a deal like this it would no doubt be at the recommendation of Euro scout Kevin Wilson. If he believes the 6'9", 230 pound Papanikolaou is worthy it would probably be wise to believe him. Wilson knows his stuff. Also, with Chris Copeland probably finding more money elsewhere Papanikolaou might be able to fill his void. After all, Wilson was responsible for finding them both.

Tags: Basketball, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kurt Thomas, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Olympiakos, Portland Trail Blazers, Raymond Felton

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