Updated: Kostas is going to be traded to the Houston Rockets in a deal that was centered around Thomas Robinson. Could the Knicks try to acquire him now that he was traded from Portland, who was asking for a lot for him?
The Knicks have offered future second-round picks and future considerations (cash) to Portland in an attempt to regain the rights to small forward Kostas Papanikolaou, according to sources.
The Trail Blazers have rebuffed the Knicks and were asking for their 24th pick in a swap with Portland’s 39th pick Thursday night to pony up the 6-foot-9 Greek. Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald isn’t looking to give up his first-round pick, though some draft experts consider the 24-to-39 range rather comparable in a draft weaker than last season’s.
The Blazers don’t want to bring Papanikolaou in for the coming season and pay the $1.1M buyout to Olympiakos. Portland has two international small forwards currently in Frenchman Nicolas Batum and his backup, Spain’s Victor Claver.
Papanikolaou, 22, would fill a need for the Knicks as a small forward who can defend and shoot from the perimeter — a skill in which he improved immensely in the past year. Papanikolaou shot 52 percent from 3-point range in the Euroleague. Grunwald scouted Papanikolaou during the Euroleague Final Four in London last month.
According to sources, Portland has received offers for Papanikolaou from others teams with picks in the late 20s. It appears Portland GM Neil Oshey wants to wait until draft night to determine who is available. The Blazers believe if Papanikolaou were in this year’s draft, he’d easily be a first-rounder.
“His strong desire is to play in the NBA next season,’’ Cornstein told The Post yesterday. “He’s won two straight Euroleague titles. If that can’t happen in Portland, maybe it can happen somewhere else.’’
Knickswag Point of View:
This is an interesting turn of events. A highly regarded player within Knicks circles, Kostas Papanikolaou has reemerged back on the scene as a possible target for the Knicks. I would NEVER give up the 24th pick for Kostas, but I would consider giving up future picks for his talents.
This move could be really risky in my opinion, however his addition could give the Knicks a young talented future at SF for the first time in years. If NY loses Cope, sign Shawne Williams and eventually acquires the rights to Kostas, they could be looking deep at the SF for the next 3 years. The real question I have is what will it cost to acquire him and will he come this year?