The New York Knicks will sign forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo to a 10-day contract, league sources confirmed to ESPN.
Antetokounmpo, the older brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, was initially drafted by the Knicks in the second round in 2014.
He has played with the franchise’s D-League club, the Westchester Knicks, for the past two seasons. New York has an available roster spot and will not need to make a corresponding move to add Antetokounmpo.
The 23-year-old averaged 10 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assist per game for Westchester this season. He shot 55 percent from the floor and 28 percent from beyond the arc.
Antetokounmpo is expected to be available for Friday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns. His signing was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.
The Knicks might have believed they need to add Antetokounmpo with Cleanthony Early sidelined for the foreseeable future after he was shot during a robbery in late December.
Also, Carmelo Anthony is dealing with soreness in his knee. He has missed the past two games and the Knicks might need to limit his minutes going forward. Antetokounmpo would add depth to the wing players on the roster.
Antetokounmpo’s signing doesn’t preclude the Knicks from signing Jimmer Fredette from Westchester, as Antetokounmpo is signed to just a 10-day contract. But adding Fredette seems unlikely at this point.
Earl the Pearl bold on Melo: Count Knicks legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe among those impressed with Anthony’s play this season.
In a phone interview Thursday, Monroe said he’s noticed Anthony take on a leadership role this season.
He has an interesting theory as to why that’s happened.
“Once you’ve been in the league and you’ve done a lot of things individually, when you get a team like this [with] guys who really want to rally around you, all of the sudden you start to think in terms of being the leader,” Monroe said. “I don’t think that was the [case] with him before. Now he sees himself as the elder statesman, the guy who can take this team someplace and now he’s acquiesced a lot of his old scoring to jell this team together. I think it’s paid off pretty well for them.”
Monroe will appear in MSG Network’s “The Garden’s Defining Moments” series on Friday night after the Suns game. The episode explores the Knicks’ 1973 Eastern Conference final against the Boston Celtics. It will focus on the Knicks’ double-overtime home win in Game 4 of the series. New York went on to beat the Celtics and won the 1973 NBA title.
“You don’t get a lot of chances to win and we put ourselves in that position,” Monroe said. “… Guys were there and we all had just one thing in mind – this could be the last time that we would be together to win a championship.”