Tag: Nenad Krstic

Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic

Magic trade Brandon Bass for Glen Davis, but what exactly do they hope to gain?


Amid a flurry of activity across the league, the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic quietly agreed to swap two somewhat frustrating bigs. Brandon Bass, the athletic power forward who gave Stan Van Gundy more than a few gray hairs during his stint with the Magic, is Boston-bound in exchange for a signed-and-traded Glen Davis.

It makes a fair bit of sense for the Celtics, who were at risk of overpaying Davis in order to preserve their frontcourt depth. Boston lost Shaquille O’Neal to retirement and Nenad Krstic to a binding contract in Russia while the NBA was still locked out, and retaining Davis seemed like one of the franchise’s only ways to maintain consistency. Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal are still in the fold, but with both players so often injured and Jeff Green the next best (if “best” is the right word) option to play big, Davis seemed like an unfortunate lock. Doc Rivers and the Celtics hadn’t exactly been thrilled with Davis’ play and conditioning during his stint in Boston, but at times he had been a pivotal component of the Celtics’ oppressive defense.

With this deal, the Celtics have traded Davis for a more athletic, better-shooting equivalent on a more palatable contract. Bass isn’t quite as good defensively, but Boston nonetheless acquired a better player for less money, and found a better fit for their offense, to boot. Well played, Danny Ainge.

But it’s hard to see exactly what the Magic stand to gain with Davis’ four-year, $26 million contract. When at the absolute peak of his game, Davis is an effective defender with decent interior skills and a solid mid-range jumper. But Davis didn’t reach that point very often last season, as the focus-related errors stacked up at an alarming rate. On the hardwood and off, Davis presented problems for the Celtics. He wasn’t the player they needed him to be, nor the one he could be. Investing four years in a player with that kind of history is an iffy decision, especially at the cost of a comparable player on a more reasonable deal.

I can understand why, in a vacuum, the Magic would want a player like Davis (or like Bass, for that matter) to help fill out their rotation. But why commit two extra years and and an additional $18 million in a deal that doesn’t actually make the team better? Where, exactly, is the selling point that makes Davis’ game so much more appealing than Bass’? He isn’t the kind of piece that could entice Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando, nor is he a credible building block for a post-Howard rebuild. Bass himself is far from perfect, but he boasts a more productive and efficient overall game.

This isn’t one of those quirky trades with mutually beneficial fit. It’s trading for trading’s sake, and when the Magic were desperate to shake things up a bit, the Celtics capitalized.

Report: Kevin Durant’s agent in talks with CSKA Moscow

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Remember how the head of the EuroLeague said the elite teams of Europe were not going to get in the “rent an NBA star” game, that they needed stable rosters? (To be fair, I had heard similar noises from some agents.)

You can pretty much throw that out the window.

Kevin Durant’s agent is in talks with Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, according to a report on the Russian Web site championat.com (via HoopsHype). He reportedly would make a $1 million a month salary and of course would have an opt-out to return to the Thunder should the lockout end.

Durant’s agent Aaron Goodwin laid out the other day how a player could make NBA money overseas, if the right team came along with the right marketing plan. This is one of the teams big enough to pull that off — this is a powerhouse of Europe, the winner or EuroLeague two of the last four seasons, the team that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov used to own. This also is the team Nenad Krstic plays for, a guy Durant knows as a teammate from OKC.

Durant has said he would make his decision on playing overseas by Oct. 1.

In addition to Durant maybe going overseas, EuroLeague power Maccabi Tel Aviv has brought in Jordan Farmar and is reportedly trying to woo Amar’e Stoudemire. If there is going to be an arms race other teams may jump in as well.

Agents expect overseas signings to escalate. Of course they do.

Sasha Vujacic
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At the end of the day, what is the job of an NBA players agent? Make his client as much money as possible. Picture Cuba Gooding Jr. yelling “show me the money.”

If a player isn’t going to be getting paid in the NBA — and a lot of agents think this lockout is going to drag on — then finding them some other place to earn a paycheck becomes a priority. (Also, the agent doesn’t get paid if the player doesn’t.)

With that, it shouldn’t be a shock that agents told the Sports Business Journal they expect more overseas signings.

“We are having a lot of conversations with (European) teams,” said Mark Bartelstein, president of Priority Sports & Entertainment, which represents about 45 NBA players and recently negotiated a one-year, $1.5 million deal for former Philadelphia 76ers forward Darius Songaila to play for Turkish team Galatasaray. The European market is in full force right now,” Bartelstein said, “and I would think (signings) will be an everyday occurrence….”

Greg Lawrence, an NBA player agent at Wasserman Media Group, which has a large NBA player practice, said, “We haven’t had any current NBA players sign over there yet, but I think it will happen soon.” Lawrence said all 15 player clients that he personally deals with have asked him about opportunities in Europe. “If teams make good offers,” he said, “I think there will be guys that go over there that will surprise you.”

European teams are wise to see if there is a fit — more marginal NBA players can have a big impact on a European team. Not every NBA player is a good fit — both in terms of style of play and of expectations and ability to deal with a very different environment overseas — but many are. Teams should be talking to guys they like, players would be smart to listen.

For guys like Nenad Krstic, Sonny Weems and Sasha Vujacic signing an overseas deal makes a lot of sense. For the big rumors — Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and guys of that ilk — the risk is much greater. That didn’t stop Deron Williams, and it may not stop other big names. But you’ll see a lot more movement among guys farther down the bench.

Krstic: NBA players will not be flocking to Europe

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce high-fives recently acquired teammate center Nenad Krstic in Boston

It is every player’s favorite threat — “I can always play in Europe.” Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, a ton of players have pulled out the Euro card as an option.

It’s not really an option, not like they think.

So warns Nenad Krstic, who spent the last several seasons in the NBA (Thunder and Celtics) but signed with powerhouse CSKA Russia to play for them next season. Krstic spoke with the Boston Herald.

“I don’t think you will see a lot coming here,” Krstic said yesterday from his home in Kraljevo, Serbia. “Europe is not in a great situation financially. There are only four or five teams now that can offer much to NBA players, and those teams right now are almost full.

“That’s a problem for NBA players, I think,” he said. “It was a reason why I had to go right away. I got maybe the best contract in Europe because of that.”

That doesn’t even get into how players who are under an NBA contract need a special waiver from FIBA to play overseas, even during a lockout.

Talk to players that play overseas ad they will tell you that playing for the big names teams you know the names of — CSKA Moscow, Barcelona, Real Madrid — and playing for most teams are different experiences. The farther down the food chain you go, the more you run into teams that struggle with payroll, coaches on massive ego trips (and coaches have more power there) and more. It’s not exactly the NBA on the other side of the pond. And on the top teams, there will be few if any spots left by the time NBA players come knocking.

Just know that while it makes a good threat, it’s not such a practical option.

Report: Krstic signs multi-year deal to play in Russia


There were reports 10 days ago that Russian power CSKA Moscow were going after the Celtics Nenad Krstic.

Turns out they were true. And he accepted.

Krstic has agreed to a two-year deal to play in Russia, A. Sherrod Blakely reports at CSN New England, via the Serbian web site novosti.rs.

The Serbian center started last season with the Thunder then was traded to the Celtics as part of the Kendrick Perkins deal. He was set to be a free agent July 1 but the Celtics had expressed interest in bringing him back for next season.

This may be the first case of a defection to Europe because of the pending lockout. Krstic would have been one of the free agents in limbo, waiting for a deal to be worked out before he could sign. And he was given a real second option, one of Europe’s best teams.

Krstic signing in Russia and the retirement of Shaquille O’Neal leaves Boston with just one center on the roster in Jermaine O’Neal. Finding another one will be a high priority for Danny Ainge this offseason.