Chicago Bulls’ pursuit of Kostas Antetokounmpo indicative of larger plan

Kostas Antetokounmpo, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kostas Antetokounmpo, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

For the second time this week, the Chicago Bulls have found themselves attached to rumors surrounding the Antetokounmpo family. While Giannis Antetokounmpo may have hinted at an interest in heading to Chicago later on in his career, this time the Bulls seem to be reciprocating their interest by eyeing up the younger sibling, Kostas Antetokounmpo.

After leading Greece against a Turkey team stacked with NBA talent like Alperen Sengun, Cedi Osman, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shane Larkin, Kostas reportedly caught the attention of Karnisovas. Posting a team-high 19 points and 13 rebounds, Kostas scored 8-of-11 attempts from the field and even chipped in a pair of steals in a block en route to a 89-80 win.

Although his NBA career has not been all that fruitful as of yet, performances like this serve as a distinct reminder of what he could potentially become. He didn’t play for an NBA team last season, but the door is far from shut on a potential return.

Ironically, Kostas — not his elder brother Giannis — was the first player in the family to win an NBA championship. Although he did not log a single minute in the 2020 playoffs, Kostas did in fact technically earn a ring with the Lakers before Giannis would lead Milwaukee to the title just a year later.

Greece-based sporting news authority SDNA reports that Chicago Bulls president Arturas Karnisovas has directly expressed his interest in the NBA’s third Antetokounmpo brother.

If the Chicago Bulls truly intend to sign Kostas Antetokounmpo, the front office may be giving us a look into their long-term plans.

Given how it took even a player as dominant as Giannis four years in the league to become an All-Star talent, it should come as no surprise that there’s been a steep learning curve for his three brothers as well. In the three years since being drafted with the final pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Kostas has only logged 87 minutes of action.

Now, expecting Kostas to also undergo a dramatic evolution as a player to become the next Greek Freak is admittedly a bit nonsensical. By the time Giannis reached Kostas’ current age, he was already averaging 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game before ultimately winning his first MVP award.

Kostas, on the other hand, has only managed a meager 1 point and 1 rebound in an average of 4 minutes per game played in the NBA. His college resume isn’t too stacked either, as he averaged just 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a freshman with the Dayton Flyers. Whether or not he’ll ever become a productive NBA role player remains to be seen, especially seeing as how both the Mavericks and Lakers have given up on him already in his young career.

Still, there’s immense value to be extracted here by laying the groundwork to build a welcoming environment for the Antetokounmpo family in advance. If there’s even the slightest chance of Giannis testing the waters of free agency in 2025, the Bulls need to do everything in their power to be on his short list of suitors.

This much is especially true when the end of Chicago’s bench already looks rather lackluster, and a two-way contract should more than suffice to attract Antetokounmpo’s services. With the recently signed Justin Lewis already out indefinitely with an ACL injury and the Bulls’ other two-way spot in a state of flux, it’s hard to think of a reason not to take this shot while it’s still on the table.

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