Former Nuggets and Rockets combo forward Kostas Papanikolaou has officially signed with Olympiacos of his native Greece, the team announced via Facebook (translation via Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). Barcelona of Spain had the right to match European offers for him, but declined to do so, according to Jose Ignacio Huguet of Mundo Deportivo (on Twitter; translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Sport24 first reported the sides had a deal that runs through June 2019. The 25-year-old was reportedly deciding between a shorter offer from the team and a deal through June 2018 from fellow Greek club Panathinaikos, so perhaps the lengthening of the Olympiacos offer was what convinced Papanikolaou to sign. In any case, it’s unclear what, if any, NBA outs the contract includes.
The Nuggets waived Papanikolaou twice this season, once at the start of training camp while he was on a non-guaranteed contract and again earlier this month, when Denver let go of the $350K partially guaranteed deal he signed in early November. He averaged 2.6 points in 11.3 minutes over 26 games with the Nuggets, including six starts, modest stats that nonetheless exceeded the 1.8 points per game he produced for the Greek national team at this summer’s Eurobasket tournament.
Denver originally acquired him from the Rockets this past summer in the Ty Lawson trade. Houston signed him in 2014 to two-year deal that gave him a sizable salary of nearly $4.798MM last season. Papanikolaou had a chance to play fairly significant minutes for the Rockets early in the 2014/15 campaign, but he only notched 4.2 points in 18.5 minutes per game that season and never lived up to the contract. He came to the NBA as a draft-and-stash prospect, having been the 48th overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Do you think we’ll see Papanikolaou in the NBA again? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.