(Story updated to include signing of Kostas to Mavs Two-Way Contract; Summer League Numbers)
Just hours after completing his stint with them during the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the Dallas Mavericks signed forward Kostas Antetokounmpo (COAST-us ah-deh-toh-KOON-boh) to a two-way contract.
In four games with the Mavericks during Summer League he averaged 5.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks and 12.0 minutes.
Antetokounmpo (6-10, 197) was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 60th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Dallas Mavericks acquired his draft rights and the draft rights to 56th overall pick Ray Spalding from Philadelphia in exchange for the draft rights to 54th overall pick Shake Milton.
The Athens, Greece native was an early-entry candidate to this year’s draft after spending one season at the University of Dayton.
The 2018-19 season will mark the second year NBA two-way contracts will be implemented. NBA teams are allowed to have up to two players under two-way contracts who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team.
The Mavs’ G-League team is the Texas Legends.
“He’s a player that’s long, athletic, upside so those guys (he and Giannis) obviously genetically – share some things,” said Mavs GM Donnie Nelson on draft night of Kostas.
“He’s taller, maybe not quite as athletic but at the power forward position here’s a guy who can block shots, run rebounds, so he’ll be a nice development player for us probably in the G-League.”
Two-way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league. Only players with four-or-fewer years of NBA experience are able to sign two-way contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.
Prior to beginning Summer League, Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis, also known as the Greek Freak, talked about a myriad of topics including how he and his brother are alike, the constant mispronunciation of his name and how he handles it and what motivates him.
On the pressure of being Giannis’ little brother: “Well it’s pressure, but It’s good pressure. It motivates me and makes me better. Everyone has pressure in their life.”
On the mispronunciation of his name and how he handles it: “Oh people butcher it all the time. ( When he has to make calls or give his name over the phone what does he do?) “I give fake names; my Uber is Gus. When I’m at the airport, they look at me like uh… they can’t even say my name. When I order food most of the time, I just say, Tre. I don’t know why I say Tre,” he says laughing at the thought.
On what motivates him: “My family motivates me a lot. Myself. I just want to get better. Anything I do, I just want to get better. If you paint, or you’re a rapper, you get better. I just want to get better at basketball and as a person.
On if his brother will watch him during Summer League: “Yes. Both my brothers are coming out to Summer League. He (Giannis) always evaluates my game. I expect him to tell me something good and something bad.”
On the biggest piece of advice – basketball and life – Giannis has given him: “With life he says to enjoy your life. It’s short. Just enjoy it. Basketball-wise, he always tells me to just play hard. You can’t always make all your shots. Can’t always look good but you can always play hard and always give effort.
On what it was like growing up and playing against each other: “It was crazy. We would go at each other. I feel it’s like, like when you see your younger brother growing up – like me now seeing Alex (their younger brother Alexis) growing up, and I’m playing with him and see him getting better every year and I’m like ‘Oh, I’ve got to take him serious now.’ That’s how it was.”
On when Giannis started to take him seriously: “Probably last year he started taking me seriously. When I was in college, getting more experience and we were playing one-on-one and he was looking at me like, ‘You got better.’”
On if their game is similar: “Our game is kind of alike. Same physical tools. Long, lanky, athleticism. We like to run the open floor and use our athleticism to score.”
On a chance to work with DeAndre Jordan: “That would be awesome. He has that experience and it would be perfect for me.”
On his NBA nickname: “I don’t have a nickname yet. Let’s think on it.”