Kostas Antetokounmpo

International Notes: Giannis, Jokic, Ibaka

All-NBA Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Greece’s preliminary roster heading into July’s qualifiers for this year’s Paris Olympics, slated for July 2-7, per Eurohoops.

Antetokounmpo is the headliner on an 18-man roster that also includes his brother Kostas Antetokounmpo, who spent three years in the NBA with the Mavericks and Lakers. A third Antetokounmpo brother, Bucks backup Thanasis Antetokounmpo, won’t be available as he recuperates from Achilles surgery.

Panathinaikos guard, Kostas Sloukas, this year’s EuroLeague Final Four MVP, is the other marquee name joining the group.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets remains undecided about playing for Team Serbia in this year’s Olympics, head coach Svetislav Pesic revealed during a guest appearance on the Politika podcast (hat tip to Eurohoops for the transcription). “Nikola Jokic’s participation alone certainly means something in every sense,” Pesic said regarding the All-NBA big man’s theoretical presence on the club. “From both the aspect of his individual quality and from the aspect of personality that Jokic is. Because when I say that Jokic is a better guy than he is a player, they all faint. Like, ‘You’re courting Jokic.’ Of course I’m courting him, because I want to point that out.”
  • 14-year NBA big man Serge Ibaka is reportedly signing a one-year contract to play for top EuroLeague club Real Madrid, per Javier Maestro of Encestando. In 2023/24, Ibaka transitioned back to European hoops, joining Bayern Munich, whom he paced in points, rebounds and blocks, per Eurohoops. During his prime with the Thunder, Ibaka was a three-time All-Defensive First Teamer. He won a league title with the Raptors in 2019.

World Cup Notes: Team USA, Portis, K. Antetokounmpo, Poirier

Team USA enjoyed its second straight rout in exhibition play ahead of the FIBA World Cup, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Americans pulled away in the second half Saturday for a 30-point win over a Slovenian team without Luka Doncic, who sat out the game with a minor knee issue.

Combined with Monday’s victory over Puerto Rico, the U.S. has outscored its opponents by 73 points in two games. The competition will get tougher in today’s matchup with Spain, but head coach Steve Kerr is happy to see his players buy into a team concept so quickly.

“We put together the team with the idea of having a lot of good passers and play-makers,” Kerr said. “And with this team, we’ve seen through the first two exhibition games, everybody can pass. And so we really want to push the tempo and attack closeouts because once we put it on the floor, we know these guys will distribute it and move it all over again.

“And you know, I thought we almost overdid it tonight. I thought at times we had over threes and we drove and kicked it down, which as a coach, you never want to criticize your players for that because you’re always trying to get them involved.”

There’s more on the World Cup:

  • Bobby Portis is disappointed that he won’t get to match up with Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo when Team USA faces Greece in an exhibition contest next week and again in pool play, Vardon adds. Antetokounmpo announced Friday that he will miss the World Cup as he continues to recover from minor knee surgery. “Obviously I’m sad, he’s sad, that he can’t play in the World Cup, but maybe that’s good for the Bucks,” Portis said.
  • Greece will also be without Kostas Antetokounmpo, who was declared out with an injury on Sunday, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. A former NBA player with the Mavericks and Lakers, Antetokounmpo represented Greece in last year’s EuroBasket and the Olympic qualifying tournament in 2021.
  • Former Celtics and Sixers center Vincent Poirier has joined the French team because of uncertainty surrounding Knicks draft-and-stash player Mathias Lessort, who is sidelined with an ankle issue, per Eurohoops. France is also adding Isaïa Cordinier in the wake of Frank Ntilikina‘s hamstring injury.

Kostas Antetokounmpo Signs With Fenerbahce

After clearing waivers on Sunday, Kostas Antetokounmpo has signed with Fenerbahce in Turkey for the rest of the season, according to Eurohoops.

Panathinaikos and Maccabi Tel Aviv also had interest in Antetokounmpo, per Eurohoops, but Fenerbahce had an advantage because of coach Dimitris Itoudis, who also coaches the Greek national team. Fenerbahce needs help at power forward because of injuries to a pair of former NBA players, Johnathan Motley and Nemanja Bjelica.

Antetokounmpo, 25, began the season on a two-way contract with the Bulls, but was waived Friday to make room for Carlik Jones. He didn’t appear in any games after signing with Chicago shortly before the start of training camp, but averaged 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 12 games with the G League’s Windy City Bulls.

Antetokounmpo saw limited NBA action after being selected with the 60th pick in the 2018 draft. He got into two games during his lone season with the Mavericks and 20 combined games during two years with the Lakers.

Bulls Waive Kostas Antetokounmpo, Sign Carlik Jones To Two-Way Deal

The Bulls have waived forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, who was on a two-way deal, and signed guard Carlik Jones to fill their two-way opening, the team announced (via Twitter).

Jones, who turns 25 next week, was a rookie last season after going undrafted out of Louisville. He appeared in five NBA games in 2021/22 on 10-day hardship deals with the Mavericks and Nuggets, but spent most of his rookie year playing with the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ G League affiliate.

Jones played for the Bulls’ Summer League team in 2022 and was later signed to an Exhibit 10 deal, but was waived before the season started. He has spent all of this season with Chicago’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, averaging 20.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 7.6 APG and 1.2 SPG on .529/.431/.667 shooting through 14 games (34.4 MPG).

The second-year guard was on our list of five G League players making bids for NBA call-ups due to their strong performances, and now that has come to fruition.

Although he has appeared in NBA games in three separate seasons (from 2018-21), Antetokounmpo has never played a regular rotation role during previous stops with the Mavericks and Lakers. The 25-year-old has logged just 87 total minutes in 22 games, putting up 21 points and 23 rebounds during his limited action.

Antetokounmpo, who spent last season with French club ASVEL, originally signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Bulls this fall, but had it converted to a two-way deal before the season started. He didn’t appear in any NBA games, but played in 12 games (28.9 MPG) for Windy City, averaging 11.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG and 1.3 BPG on .670/.200/.500 shooting.

According to a report from Eurohoops.net, at least three EuroLeague teams are interested in Antetokounmpo’s services, including Greece’s Panathinaikos, Turkey’s Fenerbahce, and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv. Antetokounmpo is the younger brother of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Bulls Convert Kostas Antetokounmpo To Two-Way Contract

The Bulls have signed forward Kostas Antetokounmpo to a two-way contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Technically, Antetokounmpo, who was in camp with the Bulls on an Exhibit 10 contract, had that deal converted into a two-way pact. Teams are allowed to turn Exhibit 10s into two-ways at any time up until October 17, assuming the player meets the two-way criteria. Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, has just three years of NBA experience, so he fits the bill.

Although he has appeared in NBA games in three separate seasons, Antetokounmpo has never played a regular rotation role during previous stops with the Mavericks and Lakers. The 24-year-old has logged just 87 total minutes in 22 games, putting up 21 points and 23 rebounds during his limited action.

Malcolm Hill and Justin Lewis had previously held the Bulls’ two-way contract slots. The Bulls haven’t announced that they’ve waived either player, but K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago suggests that Lewis, who sustained an ACL injury this summer, will be the odd man out. Lewis will remain around the team during his recovery process, Johnson writes.

In other Bulls roster news, the club has signed former NBA forward Okaro White to a contract, per RealGM’s transaction log. White is still listed as part of the roster on the team’s official website, but will likely be waived in the next 24 hours or so and eventually join the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s G League team.

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, K. Antetokounmpo, Dosunmu, Offense

Bulls star DeMar DeRozan isn’t worried about his play declining as he enters his 14th season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. DeRozan turned 33 years old in August.

As long as you take care of yourself, as long as you work, technology is completely different,” DeRozan said. “It’s not like I’m Kevin Willis [who retired at 44] out here or anything like that. Shout-out to Kevin Willis.

I’m just saying, there are so many ways to take care of yourself — physically, mentally, nutrition, the technology that you have for recovery. There are so many ways that you can be effective longer periods of time.”

It makes sense that DeRozan would dismiss his age potentially being an issue considering he’s coming off arguably the best season of his accomplished career. In 76 games (36.1 MPG) in 2021/22, the five-time All-Star averaged a career-high 27.9 PPG on .504/.350/.877 shooting along with 5.2 RPG and 4.9 APG.

DeRozan says the stacked Eastern Conference is fueling him to reach greater heights in ’22/23.

I love the competitive island that the East is on,” DeRozan said, per Cowley. “You have to compete. For me, people get so caught up in the rankings, but you put me in a room with the best, and it brings out the best in me. That’s the approach that we have to take this whole season. This is the toughest the East has been since I’ve been in the league.”

Here’s more from Chicago:

  • Kostas Antetokounmpo, who is signed to an Exhibit 10 deal, recently had an interview with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago about training camp, EuroBasket, his brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, and more. Kostas says he doesn’t feel pressure to try and have his contract converted to a two-way deal. “I just stay the course, try to get better, try to help the team as much as I can,” he said. “Everything is meant to be. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, move on to the next opportunity. The goal is just to get better. When I’m said and done, I’m going to say I became the best player I could.”
  • Veteran guard Goran Dragić says Ayo Dosunmu has impressed him during training camp, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I really like Ayo. He’s a great kid,” Dragić said after Monday’s practice when asked which of his new teammates has stood out the most. “He really listens and he’s really asking questions. For me, it’s just to guide him on the right path. He has such a great talent and he’s a positive kid. He really surprised me.” Dosunmu earned a second-team All-Rookie nod last season and will look to build on that entering year two.
  • The Bulls are looking to add elements of randomness into their offense this season after it became predictable at times in ’21/22, Schaefer notes in another article. “Free-flowing. Quick reads. For isolation, one on one players, we’re going to get a couple of those shots up. That’s part of our game. But quick reads. Fast decisions,” Zach LaVine said as part of a larger quote when asked to describe the Bulls’ offense. “The ball should be popping side to side. Being able to use different players in different spots. We’re not just going to be stuck on the sideline doing a pick and roll or rolling it into the post.”
  • After the Bulls went 46-36 and finished sixth in the East last season, John Hollinger of The Athletic predicts the team will take a step back in ’22/23 and finish with a 40-42 record and the ninth seed. Hollinger writes that Lonzo Ball‘s knee injury will hurt the team’s playoff chances, and he thinks Patrick Williams is arguably the team’s most important player and might be the key to unlocking more wins if he improves.

Contract Details: Lakers, Galloway, DSJ, McCollum, More

When the Lakers signed Matt Ryan and Dwayne Bacon to non-guaranteed training camp contracts earlier this month, both players received Exhibit 9 clauses in their new deals, but not Exhibit 10s, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Exhibit 9 contracts are non-guaranteed camp deals that don’t count against the cap during the preseason and offer teams some protection in the event of an injury. Exhibit 10s are similar, but also allow teams to convert the player to a two-way deal (if he’s eligible) or to give him a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived and then spends at least 60 days with the team’s G League affiliate.

As a general rule, a player who signs a training camp contract without an Exhibit 10 clause is usually just competing for a spot on his team’s 15-man regular season roster and won’t end up playing for the club’s G League affiliate if he doesn’t make the cut.

Langston Galloway (Pacers), Dennis Smith Jr. (Hornets), LiAngelo Ball (Hornets), Cody Zeller (Jazz), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Suns), and Wes Iwundu (Trail Blazers) are among the other recently signed free agents who signed Exhibit 9 – not Exhibit 10 – contracts.

Here are a few more contract details from around the NBA:

Kostas Antetokounmpo Joins Bulls On Training Camp Deal

SEPTEMBER 26: The Bulls have officially announced their 20-man camp roster and Antetokounmpo is on it, signaling that his deal with the team is now official.

SEPTEMBER 18: The Bulls will sign Kostas Antetokounmpo to a training camp contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Antetokounmpo will be given a chance to compete for a two-way roster spot, sources tell Charania. Those slots are currently filled by Justin Lewis, who recently suffered a torn ACL, and Malcolm Hill.

Antetokounmpo, 24, hopes to return to the NBA after spending last season with the French team ASVEL in the EuroLeague. After being selected with the final pick in the 2018 draft, he earned two-way contracts with the Mavericks and Lakers and won a championship ring in 2020. Antetokounmpo appeared in 22 total games over three seasons, averaging 1.0 points and 1.0 rebounds in four minutes per night.

Chicago has an open spot remaining on its 20-man offseason roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to add Antetokounmpo.

Bulls Reportedly Interested In Kostas Antetokounmpo

The Bulls are showing interest in former NBA big man Kostas Antetokounmpo, according to Christos Tsaltas of SDNA.gr.

Antetokounmpo spent the 2021/22 season with LCLC ASVEL, the champion of the French LNB Pro A league that also competes in the EuroLeague. However, he’s interested in an NBA return, and after a strong recent performance with the Greek national team in a victory over Turkey, Antetokounmpo was contacted by Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, Tsaltas reports, per Google Translate.

According to our roster count tracker, Chicago currently has 15 players signed to guaranteed standard deals, with undrafted rookie Justin Lewis, who underwent surgery last week for a torn ACL, on a two-way contract. The Bulls also have Malcolm Hill as a two-way restricted free agent.

Antetokounmpo only has three years of NBA experience, so he’d be eligible for a two-way deal for one more season, assuming the two sides are interested in that arrangement.

The 60th pick of the 2018 draft after one season at Dayton, Antetokounmpo spent his rookie season on a two-way deal with the Mavericks. He only appeared in two games at the NBA level, spending most of the season with Dallas’ G League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

Dallas waived the 24-year-old in the summer of 2019, but he was claimed by the Lakers, winning a title with L.A. in 2020 as a two-way player. In 20 games with the Lakers from 2019-2021, he played just 76 total minutes, having spent most of his time with South Bay, the team’s NBAGL affiliate.

It’s worth noting that Chicago’s reported interest in Antetokoumpo comes on the heels of his older brother, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, stating that he might be open to playing for the Bulls in the future.

The Greek national team has a couple of upcoming qualifying games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup before heading to Italy for the EuroBasket tournament, which tips off on September 1, as Tasos Kokkinidis of GreekReporter.com relays.

Kostas Antetokounmpo Signs With French Team

JULY 16: Antetokounmpo has signed a two-year deal with Asvel in France, according to Alessandro Maggi of Sportando.

JULY 2: Lakers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo is nearing a five-year contract with Olympiacos in his native Greece, according to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The news was first reported by FOS Online, which adds that Antetokounmpo has agreed to accept the offer from Olympiacos.

At 23, Kostas is the youngest of the three Antetokounmpo brothers in the NBA. He appeared in 15 games for L.A. this season on a two-way contract and averaged just 3.7 minutes per night, scoring 0.8 points and collecting 1.3 rebounds. This was his second season with the Lakers after being claimed off waivers from the Mavericks in 2019.

Antetokounmpo was taken by the Sixers with the final pick in the 2018 draft and was traded to Dallas on draft night. He signed a two-way contract with the Mavs, but played in just two NBA games before being released.

He is currently representing Greece in this week’s Olympic qualifying tournaments.