The Chicago Bulls are showing interest in Antetokounmpo! No, not Giannis Antetokounmpo. Instead, it is his younger brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo, who is heading into his fourth year in the NBA that the Bulls are kicking the tires on, per Christos Tsaltas of SDNA.gr.
Giannis caused quite the stir among hopeful Bulls fans, fearful Milwaukee Bucks fans, and media alike with his declaration that “everyone” would like to play for the Bulls.
He included himself in that statement but also made his commitment to Milwaukee quite clear.
The elder Antetokounmpo is under contract through 2025 with a player option for 2026. Perhaps the Bulls figured the more prudent move was to get someone in the building that could put the bug in Giannis’ ear for when the time comes.
The Other Antetokounmpo
The reality, according to Tsaltas, is that Kostas Antetokounmpo impressed Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas who caught a glimpse of the 24-year-old during a match between Greece and Turkey in the Acropolis Tournament on August 19.
In addition to his solid 19-point, 13-rebound double-double, he tallied a pair of assists, a steal, and a block. Including the nifty spin in the lane from the video above, Antetokounmpo displayed soft touch around the rim.
Tsaltas says that Antetokounmpo has drawn interest from several EuroLeague squads but adds that he prefers a return to the NBA.
His NBA career is essentially still in its infancy with just 22 games worth of experience.
But he did win a championship with Bulls guard Alex Caruso and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020 after spending his first season with the Dallas Mavericks. And, as was shown with Jovan Freeman-Liberty, it certainly helps to make a fan of Karnisovas in the process.
Looking at Everything
During his exit interview, Karnisovas said that he would “look at everything” this offseason for ways to improve the roster. A surprising 2022 season was undone by several factors, not the least of which being injuries.
But his most significant move was retaining Zach LaVine.
But that limited breadth of changes left some notable holes on a fairly rigid roster in an era of the NBA where flexibility is critical to success. The Golden State Warriors’ now-famous “Death Lineup” has introduced a new wave of switching defenses and five-out offenses where everyone is stationed on the perimeter.
The Bulls are made up of mostly guards, some bigs, and a few wings who qualify as power forwards in the modern NBA like Javonte Green or even pseudo-bigs like Jones Jr. We may see those looks again next season in the right situations.
Antetoukounmpo is slim at just 200 pounds, and he is not the athlete that his brother is. But he is still very athletic and can be a useful piece, even in a bit role.
The Other Reason to Sign Kostas
Some wondered if Antetokounmpo’s stint with the Lakers was an effort to curry favor with the Bucks superstar before he signed his max extension last offseason. It is unlikely that alone would sway him.
Especially because he already plays with another brother, Thanasis, on the Bucks.
That being the Bulls’ reason for taking an interest in Antetokounmpo is far less likely than Karnisovas being witness to an impressive in-person showing.
Who knows what, if anything, will come from this? But Antetokounmpo could offer more than the fantasy of landing his older brother in a few years for a Bulls team still light on high-upside prospects.