By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Houston may also make him a new offer in order to keep him with less money. However with the same roster in place, Papanikolaou is not expected to get more chances than he did this season and that will be also a factor for his decision. In any case, Papanikolaou is expected to have a very interesting summer with Europe being for the moment only a future back up option.