Welcome to our annual Lakers season in review series, where we’ll be taking a look back at every player on the team’s roster this season, evaluating their play, and deciding if they should be a part of the organization’s future. Today, we take a closer look at Kostas Antetokounmpo.
How did he play?
Not great. In the 56 minutes that Antetokounmpo played this year, he had nearly as many turnovers (11) and fouls (8) as he did points (12), and he shot just 3-10 from the field. He has now only made six of the 16 shots he’s taken in his three-year career.
Now, that is obviously an exceedingly small sample size, but at the same time, it’s now been three seasons in which Antetokounmpo has failed to make enough of an impression under two differing coaching staffs and within two separate organizations to earn any playing time while playing on a two-way contract (two years with the Lakers, and one with the Dallas Mavericks).
In short, he just does not appear to be an NBA player at this point.
What is his contract situation moving forward?
The Lakers could technically make Antetokounmpo a restricted free agent by tendering him a qualifying offer of $1,729,217, according to the excellent salary pages maintained by Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. But because Antetokounmpo has now accrued three years of service in the NBA, he is ineligible for a third two-way deal, and it seems extremely unlikely that the Lakers — or any other team, for that matter — have seen enough from him to prioritize him in free agency, so making him a restricted free agent feels like it’s incredibly improbable, to the point that we can basically guarantee it won’t happen.
Put simply: If the Lakers couldn’t find any time for him as a two-way player, they’re probably not going to see him as worthy of one of their 15 guaranteed roster spots for next season.
Should he be back?
If you can’t tell by the previous two sections, the answer is “no.” And when his camp started leaking that pro teams in Greece (rather than NBA organizations) were interested in his services months before NBA free agency kicks off on Aug. 2, it felt like the writing was on the wall for Antetokounmpo. And whether he signs with Olympiacos or another team, he very much appears to be headed elsewhere.
Antetokounmpo’s inevitable departure will open up at least one two-way spot for the Lakers, which they can either use to try and develop a player they see as a prospect for the future, or to attempt to tamper with another superstar sibling. Do Zion Williamson or Luka Doncic have a brother on the fringes of the NBA? Asking for a friend.