New York Knicks second-round pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo comes with a lot of excitement for a raw prospect. He's the brother of athletic Bucks phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo but has more size and power. After a season in the D-League last year, he was drafted by New York, but the plan has been to stash him as he develops.
The question was if that would be in Greece or in the D-League. Apparently the Knicks have decided to keep him local which could improve his chances for either being called up or making roster down in future years.
After deciding on D-League's Westchester or Europe, Thanasis Antetokounmpo has agreed on Knicks' affiliate next season, sources tell RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 21, 2014
The way this works is that Antetokounmpo will sign with the D-League itself. He won't be paid or under contract to the Knicks, nor the Knicks' D-League affiliate. Under a new rule stipulated last year by the NBA, if a second-round pick elects to sign with the D-League, the club that holds his draft rights can assign him to their affiliate.
The Knicks will own and operate the team's basketball operations department, but not the roster. So Antetokounmpo will learn under coaches taking direction from New York's front office, and be monitored and developed in tune with their desires, just not on roster with the team. They also can't "call him up" as is done with most D-League players. To do so, they'll have to sign him to a standard second-round deal.
But it does mean the Knicks want him a little closer to home, and it could mean Knicks fans could see him sooner rather than later. It's a long-term process of development, something the Knicks have, you know, skipped quite a bit in recent seasons.