By Rigas Dardalis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
He is the most decorated young player in Europe. He is not even 24 years old, but he has already won a tone of medals and personal achievements as a member of Greek junior national team, he is a two times Euroleague champion as a player of Olympiacos and at this point he is considered the glue of coach Xavi Pascual’s Barcelona. That’s why Houston Rockets who got his NBA rights from the Blazers just before the end of the NBA trades deadline contacted his agent Marc Cornstein and Barcelona in order to sign him during this season. After all Houston did the same last year with his old Olympiacos teammate Patrick Beverley, who was playing for Spartak Saint Petersburg.
For the last ten days Houston’s executives Gianluca Pascucci and Gersson Rosas are on a scouting trip in Europe, they have visited Spain and also Greece in order to see live Alexander Vezenkov of Aris.
However, Barcelona and Papanikolaou himself didn’t took into consideration the possibility of him crossing the pond mid-season. After all Barca is still unbeaten in Top16 and one of the Final Four favorites and that’s why they wouldn’t want to lose one of their starters. As for “Pap” he feels great in Catalonia, so far he is satisfied with his performance in Barcelona and he also wouldn’t want to leave the team before the end of season.
As a result, the Texans will make their run for Papanikolaou again this summer, but no one can predict at this point what may happen until then.
Both Papanikolaou and Barcelona are satisfied with their current collaboration, there is a 1.1 million euros buy out in his contract and the Rockets will also have to give meaningful role and minutes to the Greek forward who has so far more minutes on the court than any other Barca player both in Liga Endesa and in Euroleague.