Kostas Papanikolaou Rumors

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If the Rockets add two rookies to next season’s roster (they also have the second pick of the second round), they could have as many as six first- or second-year players. KJ McDaniels will be a free agent, but the Rockets hope to sign him. The Rockets do want to bring back Kostas Papanikolaou, but Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas said “a decision has not been made” about whether to exercise their option on the second year of his contract or to try to sign him again as a free agent. But Morey said he would not hesitate to add two more first-year players, even if the Rockets keep all of last season’s rookies. “We’re not worried about how many young players we have,” Morey said. “I think it’s good to have a mix of veterans and young players.”
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The rookie NBA season of Kostas Papanikolaou is clearly divided in two parts. In the first part of the season everything seemed ideal for him, but in the second part, after the addition of Josh Smith in Houston, things were different. Still the Greek forward isn’t eager to return to Europe. On the contrary he is ready to fight for an other chance in the NBA either in Houston, or somewhere else. During his first season Papanikolaou appeared in 43 games, 37 of them until January. With Smith on the roster and after injuring his ankle “Pap” had very little chances to play. However he is just 25 years old, he believes that he can be a contributor on the NBA level and a return to Europe is not on his mind at this point. That’s why even if Houston doesn’t extend his contract using the team option – a more than possible scenario since “Pap” will be paid 4,8 m. $ for next season, if the team extends his current deal – he will be willing to hear every NBA offer.
Alex Kennedy: Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova and Houston’s Kostas Papanikolaou were added to the Rising Stars Challenge. Robert Covington replaces Michael Carter-Williams, Matthew Dellavedova replaces Kelly Olynyk and Kostas Papanikolaou replaces Jusuf Nurkic.
Rockets rookie Kostas Papanikolaou said he was “happy” to learn that his knee injury was no more than a Grade-1 sprain, likely to keep him out for 10 days to two weeks. “Thank God it’s not something worse,” Papanikolaou said. “It’s a first-degree sprain on my MCL. Things could be even worse. I’m happy that it’s that way. It will take a couple of weeks, like 10 to 14 days, to get back. “I was really scared. Even when they told me the first time (it was just a sprain) I was scared because you never know with this kind of stuff. You actually get to know the next day. You see how much swelling there is and then what the doctors will say, so I was pretty scared. But thank God, you know. I’m glad it’s only that and not more.”
Kostas Papanikolaou suffered a knee injury during the Rockets’ overtime win Friday against the Timberwolves. The Rockets forward elaborated after Saturday’s win over the Suns. “It’s a first degree, sprained MCL,” he said. “Things could be even worse. I’m happy that it’s that way. It looks like it’ll be a couple of weeks, like 10-14 days to get back. We have a great staff in the back doing a great job and they will do their best in order for me to come back as soon as possible.”
David Aladridge: You had a couple of years left on your Barcelona deal. What made you think this was the right time to come over? Kostas Papanikoulau: First of all, what I saw, was the team showed to me that they really wanted me to come here, and they really want to give me this chance, was a big factor. I talk with Daryl, I talk with Coach McHale. That kind of make a player feel like they really want me, you know? After this offer, I would say I will be like, pardon the expression, I will be like a fool if I don’t take this offer. And also, I don’t want to miss this opportunity, and five years [later] go back and say ‘why didn’t I go back then, when I could?’ Because you don’t know. You don’t get these chances every day…great players had the opportunity, and they never did it. It was a life dream for me, and I wanted to give it a shot, you know? I don’t know if I’m going to be good for this league or not, but at least when I go through my career, I will say, at least I gave it a chance. At least I fought for it. I didn’t make it, or I made it. I don’t know.
Rockets big men in foul trouble, coach Kevin McHale moved Kostas Papanikolaou to power forward for several possessions until Pelicans coach Monty Williams countered with John Salmons in a smaller lineup. That likely will not be the last time Papanikolaou, who started at shooting guard with James Harden out, works as a “stretch four.” “We’re going to probably have to do some of that,” McHale said. That would be fine with Papanikolaou. “I’m here to play and help my team,” Papanikolaou said. “If that means play like a stretch four, that means I’ll play like a stretch four. I want to do the best for my team, what my coaches ask me to do. And my team wants to get the wins every night out.”
Kostas Papanikolaou: A few hours later I watched my first NFL game, with the Texans hosting the Bills. There I met, Spero Dedes, another fellow Greek that is very successful on TV, as a play-by-play announcer on the CBS network. We met for few minutes, during halftime, and he is an exceptional guy. They even let me watch them while they were broadcasting the game live on TV. It was a great experience. I will meet with Spero again, when I will be in Los Angeles for the opening night game against the Lakers.
“Actually, what I was thinking was I didn’t want to be thinking like five years later that I had this opportunity and didn’t do it,” Papanikolaou said. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I didn’t want to miss it. I thought, ‘This is the time.’ I spoke with the GM (Daryl Morey). The coach himself (Kevin McHale) called me. That means a lot to a player. But I just didn’t want to be stupid and lose this opportunity to be here, to live this dream to go to the NBA.”