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Rockets reach deal to bring Greek star Kostas Papanikolaou over for next season

JSF Nanterre  v FC Barlelona Basket -Euroleague

JSF Nanterre v FC Barlelona Basket -Euroleague

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There was great comedy back in 2012 when the Knicks had just one second round pick and used it to take Greek small forward Kostas Papanikolaou — Knick’s fans had no idea who he was and freaked out.

Eventually Papanikolaou’s rights worked their way to the Rockets, who have signed a deal to bring the oversized small forward over for next season, something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN. Papanikolaou has a fully guaranteed $4.8 million this coming season and a team option for $4.6 million next season.

There will be minutes to be had at the three behind Trevor Ariza (especially with Chandler Parsons gone) and even at the four where it’s Terrence Jones and Jeff Ardrien trying to space the floor for Dwight Howard inside (Papanikolaou can shoot the three). Papanikolaou is 6’8” and 230 pounds and according to reports works pretty hard on defense, so he can play the stretch four and defend a little.

Aside that, honestly I know little more than Knicks fans about him. Last season he played for Barcelona, one of the top teams in Europe. According to the DraftExpress scouting report he’s kind of a classically European big — great feel for the game, can shoot the rock, plays with a high IQ but he has average athleticism and there are questions about how much he’ll be able to do at the NBA level.

We will get a chance to see him at the World Cup where he will play for the Greek national team.