Shams Charania of RealGM reported in a tweet that New York Knicks second round draft pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo has decided to play for the Knicks’ NBADL affiliate (Westchester Knicks) over European playing opportunities.
Charania followed that report up with a tweet explaining the Knicks’ plan for Antetokounmpo to sign straight with the Westchester Knicks.
This decision by Antetokounmpo and New York brings up the new NBA D-League Draft Rights Rule, and presents a unique scenario for the New York Knicks and Antetokounmpo.
The easiest way for Antetokounmpo to make his way to the Westchester Knicks would’ve been for New York to keep Antetokounmpo at the end of camp, and ultimately assign him to their new single NBADL affiliate.
However, say the Knicks decide to cut Antetokounmpo after camp, he can still play for New York’s D-League team right? Wrong. If the Knicks cut Antetokounmpo, he becomes a free agent essentially, and the Greek player would play for Delaware, if he decided to sign on and play in the NBA D-League.
Previous to the rule change, the Knicks would have needed to trade for Antetokounmpo’s NBA D-League player rights with Philadelphia/Delaware.
Now, under the new rule New York will likely not sign Antetokounmpo to a training camp contract, which by doing so New York will still obtain Antetokounmpo’s player rights, meaning for the Greek youngster to play for Westchester to start the season all he has to do is simply sign a contract to play in the NBA D-League.
Antetokounmpo will also be protected from getting called up by any other team outside of the New York Knicks under the new rule.
Boom! There you go now. It’s a new day for rookies in the NBA and NBA D-League. Should be interesting how this rule continues to impact both leagues.