Alex Antetokounmpo

Central Notes: Bulls, Bucks, A. Antetokounmpo

The Bulls recently announced that they have promoted a number of members of their basketball operations department (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). Those promotions and new titles are as follows:

  • Pat Connelly – Assistant GM
  • Faizan Hasnany – Manager of basketball strategy and analytics
  • Josh Malone – Assistant GM of Windy City Bulls (G League affiliate)
  • Steve Pankow – Head equipment manager and travel coordinator
  • Chigozie Umeadi – Director of basketball operations and GM of Windy City Bulls
  • Steve Weinman – VP of basketball strategy and analytics

Chicago has also added Shaquin Albrow to serve as senior manager of team services and player development.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic gives the Bulls a “B” grade for their relatively quiet offseason. Mayberry notes that the team was able to re-sign Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond was a solid and affordable bench upgrade at center, and Goran Dragic will be an insurance policy in case Lonzo Ball is still dealing with his knee injury when the season rolls around. Dalen Terry, the No. 18 overall pick of last month’s draft, also looks like a solid addition, but Mayberry expects him to spend a good amount of time in the G League as he works on adding muscle and improving his shot.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic covers a number of Bucks-related topics in his latest mailbag column. Nehm doesn’t believe Milwaukee will give veteran extensions to either Khris Middleton or Brook Lopez before the season starts — Lopez is entering the last year of his contract at $13.9MM, while Middleton has a $40.4MM player option for 2023/24. The 2023 offseason will be a crucial one for the Bucks, Nehm notes, because if Milwaukee fails to win the Finals, ownership might choose to dodge the luxury tax and retool the roster with the salary cap flexibility created by Lopez and possibly Middleton becoming free agents.
  • The Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, have acquired the rights to Alex Antetokounmpo and a second-round pick in the 2023 G League draft from the Raptors 905, Toronto’s affiliate, in exchange for the rights to Jalen Lecque, the Herd announced in a press release. The youngest Antetokounmpo brother appeared in a total of 23 G League games last season, but didn’t receive much playing time.

NBA Announces Slam Dunk, Three-Point, Skills Challenge Contestants

The NBA has announced a full list of the participants for its three-point, slam dunk and skills challenge competitions ahead of the upcoming 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland.

Per the NBA (Twitter link), the following players will partake in the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest, which appears to have outpaced the dunk contest as the premiere event for established stars at All-Star Weekend. Four 2022 All-Stars will compete:

According to the league (via Twitter), these are the contestants in the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest:

Below are the NBA’s announced players for the newly revamped Taco Bell Skills Challenge (Twitter link). This year, the Skills Challenge will be divvied up into three teams: Antetokounmpo brothers (“Antetokounmpos”), Cavaliers players (“Cavs”), and rookies (“Rooks”).

These three events will take place on All-Star Saturday on February 19.

Raptors Waive Josh Hall, Alex Antetokounmpo

The Raptors have waived recent Exhibit 10 signees Josh Hall and Alex Antetokounmpo, according to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Toronto now has 18 players under contract.

Hall, 21, went undrafted in 2020, but caught on with Oklahoma City and spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with the team. He appeared in 21 games for the Thunder, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 16.0 minutes per contest. The 6’9″ forward has impressive athleticism, but struggled to score efficiently, posting a shooting line of .303/.108/.500.

Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, spent last season under contract in Spain with UCAM Murcia. The 6’8″ forward joined the Kings’ Summer League roster in August.

Both Hall and Antetokounmpo are expected to report to Toronto’s G League affiliate, the Raptors 905.

Raptors Sign Alex Antetokounmpo To Exhibit 10 Deal

11:00pm: The deal is official, per RealGM’s transactions log.


9:31pm: The Raptors will sign forward Alex Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, to an Exhibit 10 contract before the regular season begins next week, according to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link).

The Greek newspaper Ethnos first reported last month that Antetokounmpo was expected to sign with Toronto.

As Murphy notes, the plan is for Antetokounmpo to be waived shortly after he signs. His Exhibit 10 deal would allow the Raptors to gain his affiliate rights and ensure he receives a bonus worth up to $50K for eventually joining the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League team.

Antetokounmpo, 20, spent last season under contract in Spain with UCAM Murcia, then joined the Kings’ Summer League roster in August.

As we wrote earlier today, Toronto is also signing former Thunder forward Josh Hall to an Exhibit 10 contract for G League purposes.

Eastern Draft Notes: Nets, Cavs, Heat, Raptors, Pacers

The Nets own a first-rounder at No. 27 and three second-rounders, so expect them to be very active this evening, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Multiple teams are interested in guard Landry Shamet and the Nets would love to dump DeAndre Jordan‘s salary. Some of those picks could be dealt in one or more deals involving those players. General manager Sean Marks has developed a reputation of making deals on draft night, Lewis notes.

We have more draft-related news involving Eastern Conference teams:

  • The Cavaliers continue to field calls with the No. 3 pick, but they’ll keep it unless they get an overwhelming offer, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. If they hold onto it, the Cavs will take USC big man Evan Mobley, assuming Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green are off the board. Cleveland also believes it can put together a package for another lottery pick in the top 10 by dangling some combination of Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr. and its 2022 first-rounder.
  • The Heat do not own a draft pick but that could change, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Miami could not only make a trade, it could also buy a pick with the $5.6MM it has at its disposal for 2020/21 transactions before the NBA calendar flips on Monday.
  • There’s growing speculation among lottery teams picking after the Raptors at No. 4 that they’ll pull a surprise and take Florida State forward Scottie Barnes, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets.  However, Jonathan Givony of ESPN claims in his latest mock draft that the league overwhelmingly expects them to select Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, so the Raptors could be playing mind games with their competitors.
  • The Pacers brought in Alex Antetokounmpo (Murcia CB in Spain) and Jaquori McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara) for workouts on Tuesday, according to a team press release.

And-Ones: Thabeet, Wade, A. Antetokounmpo, Trial

Former No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet is attempting an NBA comeback after spending seven years away from the league, Ben Stinar writes for Sports Illustrated.

Thabeet, a 7-foot-3 center, averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game during his latest stint in Taiwan, receiving MVP honors with the Hsinchu Lioneers. He worked out for a handful of NBA teams in 2019 and hopes to eventually complete his comeback at 34 years old.

For his career, Thabeet has played 224 games with four different NBA teams. His last stint in the states came with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants — G League affiliate of the Pacers — during the 2019/20 season.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Dwyane Wade‘s role with TNT isn’t expected to change despite purchasing an ownership stake in the Jazz, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). Some league observers expected Wade to relinquish his analyst duties on TNT due to the agreement. League rules require that he can’t partake in Utah’s front-office decisions (including recruiting free agents) so long as he remains on TV, Stein adds.
  • Alex Antetokounmpo made his debut in the Spanish Liga ACB this past week, as relayed by Sportando. The 19-year-old is the youngest of the Antetokounmpo brothers — which includes Giannis (Bucks), Thanasis (Bucks), Kostas (Lakers) and Francis.
  • The NBA has warned its teams to be ready for the results from Derek Chauvin’s trial, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd from last May. The league office is preparing for games to be postponed if need be, Wojnarowski reports.

International Notes: Shved, Monroe, A. Antetokounmpo, More

Despite some speculation that he might return to the NBA, veteran guard Alexey Shved has agreed to a new three-year contract extension with Khimki, his team in Russia, sources tell Sportando.

Shved, who appeared in 182 NBA games for four teams from 2012-15, has excelled over the last few years for Khimki in EuroCup and EuroLeague play. While he’d certainly draw interest if he looked to make an NBA comeback, it appears that he has decided the upside of such a move is outweighed by playing a starring role on one of Europe’s best teams in his home country.

Here are a few more international basketball updates:

  • Veteran big man Greg Monroe spent the 2019/20 season with Bayern Munich in Germany, but isn’t expected to remain with the club for a second season, per the team’s sporting director Daniele Baiesi. “I don’t think (he) is going to come back,” Baiesi said of Monroe (Twitter link via Robert Heusel of BIG Basketball). “He deserves a much bigger stage. I think he’s a luxury that we cannot afford.”
  • Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, has signed a three-year contract with Spanish team UCAM Murcia, according to Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net. Giannis’ brother recently decided to prepare for the NBA by playing professionally in Europe rather than joining an NCAA program in the United States. According to Varlas, Alex’s new deal includes an NBA out clause after each year.
  • Former NBA guard Aaron Harrison has agreed to a deal with Greek team Olympiacos after spending last season with Galatasaray in Turkey, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Harrison spent time with Charlotte and Dallas from 2015-18.
  • Veteran guard Darrun Hilliard, who appeared in 91 NBA game from 2015-18 for Detroit and San Antonio, is expected to remain with Russian club CSKA Moscow for one more season, tweets Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas.

And-Ones: Shaq, Brown, Expansion, Antetokounmpo

Current NBA on TNT analyst and 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal believes the league should cancel the rest of the season and shift its focus to next year, he said in an interview with Mike D. Sykes, II of For The Win. 

O’Neal, listing safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, explained the NBA shouldn’t rush the rest of this season or the playoffs. Instead, each of the players and teams should focus on next season.

“I think we should scrap the season,” O’Neal said. “Everybody go home, get healthy, come back next year. Just scrap the season. Just scrap it. To try and come back now and do a rush playoffs as a player? Any team that wins this year, there’s an asterisk. They’re not going to get the respect. What if a team that’s not really in the mix of things all of a sudden wins with a new playoff format? Nobody is going to respect that. So, scrap it. Worry about the safety of the fans and the people. Come back next year.”

A growing number of current NBA players remain optimistic that the season could be resurrected, including LeBron James, who tweeted as much toward the end of last month.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a call with players on Friday discussing the steps necessary for a return, including regulations on various practice facilities and what to expect for the future. For O’Neal, however, it’s clear what decision needs to be made.

“It’s hard, but kudos to Adam Silver for taking that first step and thinking about the safety of the people and the players,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the remainder of the season but I would like everybody to be safe… So however long it takes for us to get 100% back to normal, I’m willing to wait.”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA player Shannon Brown was arrested after being accused of shooting his rifle at two people who were interested in homes for sale in Atlanta last week, according to ESPN. Brown, who played nine NBA seasons and most recently spent time with Miami in 2014-15, told authorities he believed the couple was trying to break into his home. Investigators reportedly found one empty shell casing at his house, with Brown facing an aggravated assault charge due to the incident. Nobody was injured in the situation.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines whether it’s time for the NBA to consider expansion to ease the financial burden caused by COVID-19. The league will likely be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic for multiple seasons to come, particularly from a revenue standpoint. “The league has expanded its line of credit, and I assume teams are using it,” said salary-cap expert Larry Coon. “Here’s an opportunity to erase that debt.” 
  • Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, plans to play professionally in Europe and skip college with sights set on eventually making the NBA, according to Nikos Varlas of EuroHoops. Antetokounmpo, 18, is seeking the strongest competition possible to prepare himself for the future. “I am examining my options, I have a few choices from the States, but I have decided to play in Europe”, he said. “I want to become a pro as soon as possible. I was born and raised in Europe, I know European basketball and the best thing for me would be to sign a contract with a European club. I will have to train and compete against grown men, I will experience strong competition and pressure and I will evolve on every level.”