Chicago Bulls advance long-term plans by signing Kostas Antetokounmpo

Although the Chicago Bulls looked like they were done making headlines this offseason, they’ve signed Kostas Antetokounmpo — NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s younger sibling — to a training camp deal. This contract far from guarantees that Kostas will be a big part of the Bulls’ rotation this upcoming season, but does shed some light on what their endgame may be.

Signing Kostas as a way of coaxing Giannis via free agency is hardly an original idea, as both the Mavericks and Lakers seem to have tried this same strategy in the past. However, after Giannis said he’d “love to play for Chicago”, it’s hard to blame the front office for at least trying to grease the wheels here.

Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news of the signing on Sunday night, which corroborates the report from Greek sports site SDNA that Chicago had significant interest in Kostas.

Whether you believe signing Kostas Antetokounmpo is genius or just desperate, the Chicago Bulls clearly know what (or who) they really want.

While it may be obvious what Chicago’s ultimate intention is by signing Antetokounmpo, the relay mystery lies in his potential role with the team moving forward. Charania reports that Kostas will compete for a two-way spot, even though the Chicago Bulls have already filled their pair of two-way spots by signing undrafted rookie Justin Lewis and bringing back Malcolm Hill* for a second go.

This could simply be a mistake on Charania’s end, or it could be a hint at what his insider information is telling him about Chicago’s intentions moving forward. With Lewis sidelined indefinitely due to an ACL injury, it makes little sense to have him continue occupying a roster spot when it could be put to better use.

*UPDATE: Hill was originally reported to have signed a two-way contract with Chicago on September 7, but Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson has offered a conflicting report following the Antetokounmpo signing.

This situation feels oddly vague, so we’ll continue providing updates as we learn new information.

As essentially the 17th man in the rotation, whoever occupies this slot shouldn’t receive much playtime on the court barring any major injuries. If that’s the case, planting a seed to bring his elder brother Giannis to Chicago may be a fool’s quest, but it’s than using it as a hospital ward.

Given Chicago’s shaky history with recruiting free agents, we most likely will never get to see the name Antetokounmpo on the back of a Bulls jersey. Still, for a fanbase that’s desperate to have their first superstar since the days of Derrick Rose, it’s an enticing thought to occupy the mind while we await the start of the 2022-23 season.