Rockets, Kostas Papanikolaou Halt Talks

WEDNESDAY, 8:21am: Discussion between the sides ended and Papanikolaou has decided to remain overseas, in spite of having fielded a call from Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who tried to convince the forward to take Houston’s offer, reports Sport24 (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The value of Papanikolaou’s buyout will come to down roughly the equivalent of $947K next year, perhaps making it easier for him to come stateside at that point.

TUESDAY, 5:03pm: Papanikolaou rejected a two-year, $4MM offer, but the sides continue to talk, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

2:43pm: The Rockets will meet with Papanikolaou’s agent to discuss their ideas for his role on the team, after which the forward will make his decision, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia, who hears the sides are likely to agree to a deal (Twitter links).

12:11pm: Papanikolaou’s buyout is $1.5MM, so the Rockets would cover $600K, and the rest would be up to him to pay, Sport24 reports (translation via Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi).

11:04am: The sides are discussing a deal worth $4.5MM total, Pick tweets.

10:16am: The Rockets are in advanced talks with Papanikolaou, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe hears (Twitter link).

9:04am: Rockets draft-and-stash prospect Kostas Papanikolaou is leaning toward coming to the NBA this year, David Pick of reports (on Twitter). Pick indicates that he’d do so on a two-year deal, though it’s unclear if that’s something either the team or Papanikolaou is discussing. The Greek forward spent this past season playing in Spain with FC Barcelona Regal.

The Rockets acquired the rights to Papanikolaou, the 48th overall pick in the 2012 draft, in the trade a year ago that sent Thomas Robinson to the Blazers. Papanikolaou reportedly had strong interest in playing in the NBA this past season, with the Bucks among the NBA clubs eyeing him in case the Rockets were inclined to trade his rights, but he ultimately signed a four-year deal with Barcelona. It’s unclear how much his buyout would cost, but a report in February cast it as likely that the 23-year-old would end up in Houston one way or another for 2014/15.

Variously listed at 6’7″ and 6’8″, the combo forward averaged just 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 24.2 minutes this past season in Spain. He failed to duplicate a fantasic shooting season in 2012/13, when he made a dazzling 46.2% of his three-point attempts for Olympiacos in Greece. This past season, he made only 34.0% of his treys.

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