Dec 18, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forwardKostas Papanikolaou
(16) drives against New Orleans Pelicans centerOmer Asik
(3) in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Papanikolaou, admittedly gave the Rockets more than expected early in the season and is a solid off-the bench type that is capable of giving a team some quality minutes. He can knock down a 3 and he has some positional flexibility between a small 4 and the 3, although he struggles defensively at the 3.
However, he did not appear to be a player with great upside and is more of a grinder that can occasionally surprise. He struggled to stay healthy and get back on the court late in the season and was non-existent in the playoffs, somewhat indicating the Rockets level of confidence in him.
Space City Scoop
Papanikolaou has a $4.8 million dollar contract for next season but it is non-guaranteed, if not exercised by October 4. This contract option should not be exercised by the Rockets as that’s considerably over paying him and money that could be spent better elsewhere.
The contract though is a classic Daryl Morey move, the way it was structured, it allows him to trade Papanikolaou this off-season, using his salary for matching purposes in the trade and the team receiving him has no requirement to keep him if they choose. That is very useful to help facilitate a trade.
So if the Rockets find a means to trade for the other guard that they need, it’s a good possibility Papanikolaou is included in that trade. Either way I don’t expect him to be back with the Rockets next season.
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