By Lefteris Moutis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
He will live the NBA dream, sooner or later. The question is with which team Kostas Papanikolaou will play at the NBA? The best player of Euroleague’s final will watch the draft from Brazil, where he is for the preparation of the Greek National team for the FIBA pre-Olympic tournament and he is really anxious. He has still a long way to go, before he makes the big move, but after the 28th of June he will be able to imagine himself in the NBA courts, with a specific team. Which one?
Memphis Grizzlies were the first team that expressed their interest for him during the season. They watched him closely in many games and were followed by San Antonio Spurs who had shown interest since last season, but appeared again at the forefront during Euroleague’s Final Four at Istanbul.
Olympiacos 22 years old forward impressed everyone against Barcelona and CSKA Moscow and drew the attention of many teams as his agent, George Sfairopoulos, says: “After Euroleague’s Final Four and Greek finals several teams increased their interest and many scouts said even that Kostas is perhaps the best eligible international player this year”.
Indeed, a lot of teams have asked to see him personally, to participate in work outs and do medical tests. Due to the preparation of Greek National team, this was impossible, but Papanikolaou went to Eurocamp in Treviso for one day, Sunday 10th of June and met with representatives of various teams (Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia Sixers, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets) for personal interviews.
Only three players Greeks have been selected in the top 30 draft picks (at No23 Efthimis Rentzias in 1996 and Kostas Koufos in 2008 and No25 Iakovos Tsakalidis in 2000). However, Papanikolaou’s Greek representative, George Sfairopoulos in collaboration with his U.S. partner, Marc Cornstein of Pinnacle management predict that the 22 years old forward can also be selected even in the first round.
“According to our contacts with the teams, we are waiting to be selected either at the end of the first round or at the first picks of the second”, says Sfairopoulos explaining that “everything will depend on which team will want to choose him this year and have him after next season, but also on how the situation will be after the trades”.
His contract with Olympiacos doesn’t include an NBA buy out until the summer of 2013. And as he has said, he wants to make the step to the NBA when he will be ready…