There's been a lot of speculation on the future of New York Knicks second round pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Some had him making the Knicks roster. Other's had him joining a team overseas. Some had him accepting the Knicks offer and becoming a free agent because of the Knicks lack of roster space. Instead, Antetokounmpo will be joining the Knicks' D-League affiliate the Westchester Knicks for the upcoming season.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo is an NBA-ready defender. However, his offensive game needs some seasoning. That being said, he's a good enough player to play on the NBA level this upcoming season. However, the New York Knicks lack the roster space to carry Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo's future has been in such question that some feared the Knicks would lose control over his rights because he'd accept the contract tender the Knicks would offer him and then not make the final roster, making him an unrestricted free agent.
When Phil Jackson drafted Antetokounmpo he did so with the intention of stashing him overseas for a season so he could develop his game and the Knicks could add him to their roster in 2015 when the team gains financial and roster flexibility.
However, something had to be worked out if the Knicks wanted to both keep his rights and not have him on the active roster for the upcoming season. Either the Knicks had to secure Antetokounmpo a job overseas or they'd have to talk him into accepting another year of NBA D-League play.
It was known that the Knicks intended to bring him to training camp. However, at one point, there were rumors that Antetokounmpo had secured a deal to play over season. As it turns out, those rumors were false.
Rumors around Antetokounmpo signiÃ?Â±g with Varese are wrong. The player will attend Knicks' training camp, per source.— Enea Trapani (@ETSportando) August 15, 2014
Antetokounmpo is not headed to Italy. Instead, his next stop will be training camp with the Knicks followed by a season with the Westchester Knicks of the D-League.
After deciding on D-League's Westchester or Europe, Thanasis Antetokounmpo has agreed on Knicks' affiliate next season, sources tell RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 21, 2014
This is the best-case scenario for this situation. Not only will the Knicks be able to keep Antetounmpo's rights, he'll be under their watch and learning their system during the upcoming season.
It's not like the Knicks would have been disappointed had Antetounmpo decided to take advantage of his opportunities in Spain or Italy. However, with him headed to their D-League affiliate the Knicks will be able to keep a close eye on his development.
They'll also be able to dictate what parts of his game he works on instead of relying on a European team to use him in the right way. The Knicks know he can defend and rebound, he needs to develop his offense game. Hopefully a season with Westchester will help Antetounmpo find his niche in the triangle offense.
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