Lakers claim Kostas Antetokounmpo, brother of Giannis, off waivers

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, and Dallas Mavericks' Kostas Antetokounmpo, left, greet at midcourt before an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
The Lakers have acquired a depth forward with an interesting last name. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Usually, a team picking up a 21-year-old former 60th overall pick with 11 career NBA minutes isn’t going to move the needle. But, sometimes, the player is the brother of the league MVP and the team is the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers have signed Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, to a two-way contract after claiming him off waivers from the Dallas Mavericks, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

In real terms, this is a depth move for the Lakers. The young Antetokounmpo will likely spend most of the season for the G League’s South Bay Lakers, and remains a major developmental prospect. Even in the G League, he only averaged 3.6 points per game with the Texas Legends last season.

Of course, the signee’s last name led to a waive of speculation, some serious and some derisive, that the Lakers were laying the groundwork for a run at the MVP when he’s scheduled to hit free agency in the 2021 offseason.

Could the Lakers really end up with Giannis Antetokounmpo?

It’s pretty silly to think that signing Antetokounmpo’s little brother to a deal that doesn’t even guarantee he’ll be in the league this season will have any effect on the Bucks forward’s future decision.

For starters, the Bucks have already done essentially the same thing by signing Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the oldest brother, to a two-year deal after a quiet stint in the EuroLeague. Another team could even draft Alex Antetokounmpo, who is currently 17 years old, in the 2021 draft.

Yes, the Lakers have already signaled their intention to his 2021 free agency with significant cap space, but they’ll probably have to do a lot more than sign one of his brothers to a two-way deal two years ahead of the fact. And, as Silver Screen and Roll points out, Antetokounmpo might not even have any interest in moving to Los Angeles.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel after the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles:

He enjoyed the opportunity to be back with his teammates and in the city he calls home as the Bucks prepare for a difficult, critical final 25 games of the season. He also appreciates the comfort of playing in a city where the spotlight isn't as bright as Los Angeles.

“I could never see myself being out there," Antetokounmpo said. "It’s great for two, three days but it’s a little bit — things are going a little bit crazy.

It’s worth remembering, above all, that we’re talking about a summer two years in the future. So much could change on both the Bucks and the Lakers that trying to seriously gauge Antetokounmpo’s intentions is a fool’s errand.

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