Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Bucks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo To Undergo Achilles Surgery

Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo will undergo surgery for a torn Achilles tendon, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Charania doesn’t specify when the injury occurred or how long the recovery process is expected to take, but players who tear an Achilles often miss a full season.

Antetokounmpo played sparingly in Milwaukee’s first-round playoff series with Indiana. He was on the court for two minutes in Game 4 and three minutes in Game 6 as the Pacers closed out the series.

The 31-year-old forward appeared in 34 games during the regular season, averaging 0.9 points and 0.4 rebounds in 4.6 minutes per night. He’s in his fifth season with the Bucks after playing professionally in Spain and Greece.

Antetokounmpo will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after signing a one-year, minimum-salary contract last offseason that paid him $2.3MM.

Like his younger brother, Giannis, Antetokounmpo is a long-time member of the Greek international team. The surgery will presumably prevent him from playing this summer as Greece tries to earn an Olympic bid at a qualifying tournament in early July.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Thanasis, Griffin, Ownership

Although Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo just inked a lucrative contract extension, Milwaukee is still under pressure to deliver a title soon, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

The All-NBA forward’s fresh three-season extension, which could be worth up to $186.6MM, will keep him under team control through at least the 2026/27 season. Newly-added All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard has a $63.2MM player option for that year. Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, has a player option for 2027/28.

Nehm notes that team president Jon Horst clearly is striving to deliver Antetokounmpo his second title with the Bucks, pointing to the trade for Lillard as proof that the front office is taking an aggressive team-building approach.

There’s more out of Milwaukee:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo credits big brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, a reserve forward on Milwaukee, with helping to convince him to sign an extension this offseason, Nehm adds (Twitter link). “For me, signing is basically, as I said earlier, it wouldn’t make sense for me to sign it, but then I had a conversation with my family, a.k.a. GM TA [Thanasis], that it would make more sense for me to sign because I’d be able to — first of all, you don’t know what tomorrow holds — but that I’d have eligibility to re-sign in 2026,” Giannis said. “So I just kind of trust his thinking.”
  • First-year Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin recently unpacked his revamped approach to the club’s defense during an interview with Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Griffin singles out ball pressure, paint protection with lots of help defense, contesting shots, and defensive rebounding as his key tenets.
  • New Bucks co-owners Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam hope to help give the Bucks enough support to win more championships, Owczarski writes in a separate piece. “That desire to win is not just for us, although we’re incredibly competitive, but we also recognize how important it is for these communities to have a winning team,” Dee said. “That gets us excited to be part of that story.”

World Cup Notes: Edwards, RHJ, Hart, Ingram, Thanasis, Canada

Even though Team USA’s 48-point win over Jordan on Wednesday wasn’t exactly a tightly contested affair, former Timberwolves teammates Anthony Edwards and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson enjoyed going back and forth at each other in the third and final first-round game at the World Cup, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Edwards had a game-high 22 points, edging out Hollis-Jefferson, who scored 20. The two were on Minnesota’s roster together for a brief period during the 2020 preseason, when RHJ served as a veteran mentor ahead of Edwards’ rookie year. Hollis-Jefferson didn’t end up making the Wolves’ regular season roster.

“We haven’t seen each other since then, so it was fun,” Edwards said. “And yeah, we was talking with smack out there for sure.”

U.S. head coach Steve Kerr made one lineup change ahead of the game vs. Jordan, replacing Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram in the starting five with Knicks forward Josh Hart. As Windhorst observes, Ingram had struggled as spot-up shooter with the first unit and was able to have the ball in his hands more as a reserve. It sounds like the change could stick.

“We just felt like it was important to take a look at Josh with the starting group and Brandon with the next group to see if the combinations fit,” Kerr said after the victory. “I liked what I saw. The game wasn’t competitive, but there was good flow with both groups.”

“They thought it was a better fit for me playing with Tyrese [Haliburton] and playing with some guys that are a little less ball dominant than Jalen [Brunson] and Ant,” Ingram told Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. “They just talked about it being a better fit, and I agreed with them.”

Here are a few more World Cup notes:

  • Hollis-Jefferson is one of nine non-U.S. players identified by Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype as breakout performers through three World Cup games. Bulls guard Carlik Jones (South Sudan), Wizards forward Xavier Cooks (Australia), and Heat forward Nikola Jovic (Serbia) are among the NBAers who have impressed, as De Roa details.
  • Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who injured his left adductor in Monday’s loss to the U.S., returned to action for Greece on Wednesday. However, Antetokounmpo played a limited role in the win over New Zealand that clinched the Greeks a spot in the second round, recording more fouls (4) than points (2) in his 14 minutes.
  • The Canadian national team – which had the best point differential (+111) of any club in the first round – is finally realizing its potential on the international stage, says Michael Grange of Canada has had no shortage of players in the NBA over the last decade, but those players haven’t always participated in international competitions and have struggled to quickly establish chemistry in the events they’ve played.

World Cup Notes: Australia, Antetokounmpo, Gobert, Dort

As expected, the Australian national team tweaked its lineup ahead of Tuesday’s game vs. Japan, replacing Matisse Thybulle with Mavericks wing Josh Green in the starting five, per Olgun Uluc of ESPN (Twitter link). The move paid dividends, as Green recorded 15 points (on 5-of-7 shooting) and four steals to help lead the Boomers to a 109-89 victory, securing the team a spot in the second round of the FIBA World Cup.

With the loss, the Japanese national team has been eliminated from the World Cup, though Suns fans have to be pleased with Yuta Watanabe‘s performance. The new Phoenix forward had 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-8 threes, against Australia.

Here’s more on the 2023 World Cup:

  • An MRI on Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo revealed a “slight stretch” of the adductor muscle in his left thigh, tweets Harris Stavrou of SPORT24. Antetokounmpo is receiving treatment and still hopes to play in Greece’s crucial Wednesday contest vs. New Zealand — the winner will advance to round two, while the loser will be out of the running.
  • Having been eliminated from World Cup contention, France sat three players – including Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert – for Tuesday’s game against Lebanon, per Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press notes (via Twitter), it’d be surprising if Gobert is active for any of the consolation games to determine the Nos. 17-32 seeding. France did defeat Lebanon on Tuesday, with Evan Fournier becoming the country’s all-time leading World Cup scorer, sneaking past teammate Nicolas Batum (285 points to 282).
  • Thunder forward Luguentz Dort is missing his second consecutive game for Team Canada on Tuesday due to a minor injury. However, it sounds like Canada is just playing it safe with Dort and he’ll be available for the start of the next round, tweets Josh Lewenberg of Canada and Latvia are currently going head-to-head to determine the Group H winner — both teams will advance to round two, but today’s winner would have a leg up to make the knockout round.

Bucks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo Undergoing MRI On Adductor

Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who is currently competing for the Greek national team at the 2023 World Cup, is undergoing an MRI on his left adductor after experiencing discomfort in Greece’s loss to Team USA, reports Harris Stavrou of (via Twitter).

Antetkounmpo is averaging 5.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 20.3 minutes through two games at the World Cup. Despite losing to the Americans on Monday, Greece still has a shot at advancing out of Group C — the team will face New Zealand to determine who makes it to the second round.

The 31-year-old has spent the past four seasons with the Bucks and re-signed with Milwaukee in free agency, agreeing to a one-year, minimum-salary deal that’s fully guaranteed. He hasn’t received much playing time over that span, which is why he considered signing with the Knicks this summer, but he ultimately decided to stay in Milwaukee.

Antetkounmpo recently told Donatas Urbonas of that he would represent Greece in international competition whenever he was able to.

“This court, for me, is sacred,” he said. “When I step on the court, I play to win, I play to the best of my abilities, and whatever I have to give, I give. And certainly, I enjoy it. I enjoy this feeling in my heart.”

The Greek national team is already shorthanded, as Thanasis’ younger brother, two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, is out for the World Cup after undergoing minor knee surgery in June.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo Considered Joining Knicks

Thanasis Antetokounmpo tells Donatas Urbonas of that he came close to signing with the Knicks this summer, but decided to remain with the Bucks because of his brother and new head coach Adrian Griffin.

“Obviously, Giannis is my brother, and obviously, I love Milwaukee. I love Milwaukee,” Antetokounmpo said. “But at the same time … I want to play. You always want to play and feel important. And at the same time, you want, like … It’s just because of how I am as a player. That would be different if I were in Europe and any other team. But now it became a little bit more like, oh, okay, he’s on the team because … But I was like: you know what? No. Why would I do this?”

The 31-year-old forward reportedly talked with several teams in free agency, but the strongest interest came from New York. Antetokounmpo was looking for a situation where he could contribute after seeing his role in Milwaukee decline over the past two years. Last season, he appeared in just 37 games and averaged 1.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in 5.6 minutes per night.

After meeting with Griffin, Antetokounmpo got the sense that things might be different this season. He decided to re-sign with the Bucks, and although his one-year contract is for the veteran’s minimum, it is fully guaranteed for $2,346,614.

“During the free agency, I was off in Greece,” Antetokounmpo said. “But I sat down with the new coach and talked with him. He said he appreciates the way I play, he values my game. You know, every coach has a different opinion of everybody. But when I picked the teams, hearing the coach and everything … I thought this was the place for me.

“And obviously, the Milwaukee fanbase has been … You don’t know how much I love the Bucks, their fanbase, and how the city has embraced my family for so many years. So it was kind of a no-brainer. But at the same time, I’m an athlete, and you want to feel important. You want to feel a part of the team. And sometimes there are other places where they want to provide you with an opportunity, just show us what you got.”

Antetokounmpo’s NBA career began in 2015/16 with two games with the Knicks, who drafted him with the 51st pick in 2014. After spending one year in Spain and two years in Greece, he returned to the league in the 2019/20 season with Milwaukee, where he has been ever since.

Antetokounmpo is currently involved in the World Cup, where he’s the only active NBA player on Greece’s roster. He considers international basketball and the chance to represent his country an important part of who he is as a player.

“This court, for me, is sacred,” he said. “When I step on the court, I play to win, I play to the best of my abilities, and whatever I have to give, I give. And certainly, I enjoy it. I enjoy this feeling in my heart.”

Giannis On Future With Bucks, Career Goals, More

Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo recently sat down for an honest, insightful interview with Tania Ganguli of The New York Times, which is worth reading in full for any NBA fan.

As Ganguli writes, the two-time MVP is eligible for a three-year extension in a few weeks, worth a projected $173MM. However, Antetokounmpo has no intention of inking a new deal before the 2023/24 season starts — as he notes, he could make more money if he waits until next offseason, but that certainly doesn’t sound like a lock, either.

The real question’s not going to be this year — numbers wise it doesn’t make sense,” Antetokounmpo said. “But next year, next summer it would make more sense for both parties. Even then, I don’t know. … I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”

The 28-year-old is technically under contract through ’25/26, but that final season is a player option. He will make a guaranteed $94.4MM over the next two seasons, and could hit free agency in 2025.

Interestingly, Antetokounmpo says he considered walking away from basketball during the ’20/21 campaign. He had lost his joy for the game, according to Ganguli, but rediscovered it with the help of his older brother and teammate, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, as well as the assistance of a sports psychologist. The season culminated in Milwaukee’s second NBA championship, 50 years removed from the first.

I think it’s the best feeling that I’ve felt so far in basketball,” Giannis told Ganguli.

In an ideal world, the seven-time All-NBA big man would like to spend his entire career with the Bucks. He has a goal of playing 20 seasons, and he’s halfway there.

But at the end of the day, being a winner, it’s over that goal,” Antetokounmpo said. “Winning a championship comes first. I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship.”

Contract Details: Cissoko, Temple, T. Antetokounmpo, More

The three-year contract that No. 44 overall pick Sidy Cissoko signed with the Spurs is guaranteed for the first two seasons, but not for the third, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. It’s worth the minimum in all three years, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Because the Spurs still had a little cap room available, they signed Cissoko using that room instead of the second-round pick exception, Smith notes, so the third year is simply non-guaranteed instead of being a team option.

That will give San Antonio more time to make its third-year decision on Cissoko — instead of having to exercise or decline an option by June 29, 2025, the team will pay him a $500K partial guarantee if he remains under contract through July 6 of that year, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tells Hoops Rumors. Cissoko would receive his full guarantee if he hasn’t been waived by the start of the 2025/26 regular season, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts:

  • Garrett Temple‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Raptors is guaranteed, per Doug Smith of The Toronto Star (Twitter link). That means Toronto has 15 players on guaranteed standard contracts, with Jeff Dowtin and his non-guaranteed deal potentially on the outside looking in unless one of those 15 players is traded or waived.
  • The one-year, minimum-salary contracts signed by Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) and Sandro Mamukelashvili (Spurs) are also guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. Milwaukee now has 15 players on guaranteed standard contracts, while San Antonio has 18 and will need to make some roster moves before opening night.
  • Duane Washington‘s training camp contract with the Knicks includes Exhibit 9 language but doesn’t feature an Exhibit 10 clause, Hoops Rumors has learned. That means Washington can’t have his contract converted into a two-way deal and wouldn’t receive a bonus worth up to $75K if he’s waived by New York and ends up playing for the Westchester Knicks.

Bucks Re-Sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo

3:58pm: The Bucks have officially re-signed Antetokounmpo, the team announced in a press release.

2:51pm: Free agent forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo has agreed to re-sign with the Bucks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The older brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis has spent the last four seasons in Milwaukee, averaging 2.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game (162 games) during that time. Prior to 2019, he primarily played overseas and in the G League, though he did have a brief NBA stint with New York in 2015/16.

According to Charania (Twitter link), Thanasis chose the Bucks over multiple other options, including the Knicks.

Given Thanasis’ limited contributions at the NBA level, it would be a little surprising if multiple teams were vying to offer the 31-year-old a fully guaranteed contract — we’ll have to wait to see what the details of his new deal are. Based on the Bucks’ financial situation, it figures to be worth the veteran’s minimum.

Milwaukee currently has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, so if the team plans to have Thanasis on its regular season roster, he would fill the 15th and final spot, barring additional moves. In that scenario, the Bucks would be carrying two pairs of brothers on their 2023/24 squad, with Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez also under contract.

Scotto’s Latest: Tucker, Gay, Sumner, Noel

With James Harden‘s trade request still unresolved, teams are monitoring the future of his Sixers teammate P.J. Tucker. According to a report from HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, Tucker has come up in trade discussions between the 76ers and the Clippers, Harden’s reported preferred destination. The Clippers “covet” Tucker’s ability to guard multiple positions, according to Scotto.

Tucker, a teammate of Harden’s on the Rockets from 2017-21, joined the 76ers last summer on a three-year, $33MM deal to reunite with Harden and former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Harden and Tucker are close, with Harden reportedly taking less money last offseason to help bring Tucker aboard one of the Eastern Conference’s top contenders.

Tucker, a 12-year NBA veteran, is owed $11MM this upcoming season and has a player option worth $11.5MM for the 2024/25 season. At 38 years old, Tucker is one of the oldest active players in the NBA but he hasn’t shown any mileage yet, starting in all 75 of his appearances last season and averaging 25.6 minutes.

There’s more from Scotto:

  • Free agent forward Rudy Gay, who was recently released by the Thunder, is drawing interest from several potential playoff teams, according to Scotto. The Warriors, Lakers, Mavericks, Bulls and Pelicans have all registered interest in Gay, per Scotto. Gay will be 37 by the time next season starts and while his role has diminished in each of the past three seasons, he’s still a seasoned veteran with 17 years of NBA experience. Gay averaged 5.2 points last season. Each team linked to Gay has at least one roster spot open and could offer him a one-year, veteran’s minimum which, for a player with 10+ years of experience, is worth roughly $3.2MM next season.
  • Free agent guard Edmond Sumner, who was recently let go by the Nets, is also drawing attention from multiple teams, according to Scotto. The Hornets, Bucks, Raptors, Heat and Suns all have registered interest in the 27 year old. Scotto says that some of the named teams appear more likely than others to pursue a deal with Sumner. The Bucks have one roster spot open and no true point guard behind Jrue Holiday, but those around the league expect Milwaukee’s final spot to go to Thanasis Antetokounmpo, according to Scotto. The Suns also just filled their final standard roster spot with Bol Bol, so they would have to create space elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Heat are reportedly in a holding pattern amid Damian Lillard trade talks. On the other hand, the Hornets are searching for veteran point guard help and the Raptors lack point guard depth behind new addition Dennis Schröder.
  • Before agreeing to a one-year deal with the Kings, center Nerlens Noel drew exploratory interest from the Lakers and Bulls, according to Scotto. The Lakers’ interest, in particular, is noteworthy due to their reported desire to add frontcourt depth to their roster. Free agent big men Christian Wood and Bismack Biyombo have also recently been linked to the Lakers.