Atlantic Notes: Antetokounmpo, Knicks, Harper

Thanasis Antetokounmpo is talking with European and NBA teams, but his agent, Nick Lotsos, said he might wind up playing in the D-League if another NBA club doesn’t sign him, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Antetokounmpo’s camp had previously said the 23-year-old would not play another season in the D-League, but perhaps that was just a leverage play to make the opening night roster since New York owns his D-League rights. The Knicks waived Antetokounmpo along with four others on Friday, and they only have 14 players under contract, as our Roster Count page shows.

The team wanted to remain flexible by having an extra roster spot and there’s suspicion that the forward never really had a chance to make the team. “My understanding is they wanted the 15th spot open, because they want it open in case something interesting comes up,” Lotsos told Berman. “I don’t believe [he got an opportunity]. It goes for all the guys [cut].”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Lotsos got no reading on whether the Knicks consider Antetokounmpo a future prospect, Berman writes in the same piece. “I don’t have a feeling if Thanasis has a future [with the Knicks],” Lotsos said. “It’s important wherever he plays [in the D-League], he has an important role. If that’s Westchester, fine. If [there is] not such a plan there, we’d have to find another place. They said he had a good camp, and I believe them.” 
  • Justin Harper wasn’t expected to have any chance to make the team when he agreed to a camp deal with the Nets last month, but injuries to the team’s frontcourt gave Harper an opportunity to showcase his game in the preseason and he made the most of his playing time, Tim Bontemps of the New York Post writes. Brooklyn currently has 17 players under contract, as our Roster Count page shows, with Harper and veteran Dahntay Jones as the only players with contracts that do not contain any guaranteed money. If Harper makes the team, it appears it will be at the expense of Willie Reed, although that is merely my speculation. Reed, who is recovering from thumb surgery and isn’t expected back on the court for five to seven weeks, has a partial guarantee in his contract worth $500K.
  • Lionel Hollins means more to Brooklyn now than ever before, Bontemps writes in a separate piece. The Nets don’t have the firepower to consistently compete with the league’s top teams and Bontemps argues that if the team is going to make any noise this season, Hollins will have to out-coach his opponents on a nightly basis.

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