The international transfer market has been in full swing for a few weeks now and many players with NBA ties have signed new contracts overseas. Let’s catch up with some of these players and see what they’ve been doing since we last heard from them.
FORMER NBA PLAYERS
Trey Thompkins – signed a three-year contract with Real Madrid (Spain)
Thompkins was drafted 37th overall by the L.A. Clippers in the 2011 draft. He played in only 24 games during his rookie season before the Clippers waived him during a sophomore campaign in which he didn’t play a single game. He resurfaced in the 2014 summer league with the Lakers before signing in Russia with Nizhny Novgorod. Thompkins had a breakout season this year, averaging 15.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in the VTB United League and 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds in Euroleague play. He led his team, which included former NBA player Gal Mekel, to a surprise appearance in the Euroleague Final 16 while also reaching the semifinals in the VTB. Thompkins parlayed his great season into a three-year deal with the reigning Euroleague champions from Spain. He will join a team that includes former NBA players Gustavo Ayon, Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez and Andres Nocioni as well as potential future Houston Rocket Sergio Llull.
Derrick Brown – signed a 2-year contract with Anadolu Efes (Turkey)
Brown is a three-year NBA veteran with 171 games of experience who was drafted 40th overall in 2009 and who we last saw during the 2011/12 season with Charlotte. He spent this season in Russia with Lokomotiv Kuban, the same team that Anthony Randolph signed with after being waived by the Magic last year. Brown had an outstanding season, averaging 14.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game across 54 combined contests in the VTB United & Euroleague. He and Malcolm Delaney led Lokomotiv to the Eurocup quarterfinals as well as the VTB semis. Brown now moves to the powerhouse Turkish team that boasts significant young talents in Sixers first-round pick Dario Saric, 2015 draft hopeful Cedi Osman and 17-year old future star Furkan Korkmaz. Efes made the Euroleague playoffs this year and were also the runner-up to a surprising Karsiyaka team in the Turkish TBL finals.
Darius Johnson-Odom – signed a 1-year contract with Trabzonspor (Turkey)
Johnson-Odom spent parts of two years in the NBA after he became the 55th pick in the 2012 draft. Philadelphia waived him during the 2013/14 season and he went on to put up 22 points, 6.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game in the D-League with the Springfield Armor. That performance led him to Italy where he played this season with Cantu and averaged 14.4 points per game. Joined by fellow ex-NBA players Metta World Peace and DeQuan Jones, Johnson-Odom’s team actually struggled badly, finishing seventh in the Italian league and getting bounced in the first round of the Eurocup playoffs. He now heads to Turkey to join former St. John’s star Dwight Hardy on an up-and-coming Trabzonspor team.
Jon Brockman – re-signed with Ludwigsburg (Germany) for one more season
Brockman was the 38th overall pick in 2009 and played in 150 games over three NBA seasons. He last played in 2011/12 for the Milwaukee Bucks before beginning his overseas career in France. He led the German BBL in rebounding (9.8 per game) this season while also averaging 12.2 points per game. Paired with the league’s top scorer, former NBA player D.J. Kennedy, he led Ludwigsburg to a playoff berth and decided to stay with the team for another season.
Other notable former NBA players
- Kyrylo Fesenko switched teams in Russia, moving from Avtodor to Lokomotiv Kuban. The five-year NBA vet was with the Timberwolves for training camp this past fall, but they waived him prior to the start of the season.
- Yi Jianlian will continue with Chinese team Guangdong after signing a reported five-year, $16.1MM extension. Jianlian last played in the NBA with Dallas during the 2011/12 season and has 272 games of NBA experience.
- Yaroslav Korolev stayed in Greece, signing with Rethymno after spending last year there with Panionios. Korolev’s NBA cup of coffee lasted just 34 games over two seasons after he became the 12th overall pick in 2005.
- Jerry Smith re-signed with German team Bremerhaven for next season. The former Louisville and one-time Nets guard averaged 11.8 points and 5.1 assists this season.
NBA DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS
Ante Tomic – extended contract with Barcelona (Spain) through 2018
The Jazz drafted Tomic 44th overall in the 2008 draft, and he has continued to flourish overseas since then. Utah was rumored to be willing to pay his buyout and bring him over for next season, but this extension likely puts an end to that conversation for the time being. Tomic averaged 11.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in Euroleague play and was named to the Second Team All-Euroleague squad. He received first-team honors during the last two campaigns as well. He helped Barcelona reach the Spanish ACB finals after a disappointing defeat in the Euroleague playoffs.
Sasha Kaun – announced retirement from European basketball
Kaun won the 2008 NCAA title with Kansas before he became the 56th overall pick in the 2008 draft. He has played his entire professional career with Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, who this season won their fifth consecutive VTB United League title. Kaun won the 2013/14 VTB United Defensive Player of the Year award along the way as well. This season he averaged 10.5 points per game in the VTB and 9.9 points per game in Euroleague play. CSKA lost to Olympiacos by two points in the Euroleague semifinals but were able to regroup and win the third-place game against Fenerbahce. Kaun’s rights are owned by the Cleveland Cavaliers and he is moving back to the U.S. to pursue an NBA deal.
Other notable draft rights held players
- Robertas Javtokas re-signed with Zalgiris in Lithuania after the team won its fourth consecutive LKL title. The Spurs hold rights to the 35-year-old, who is in the twilight of his playing career.
- Brad Newley re-signed with Spanish team Gran Canaria after a season that ended with a second-place Eurocup finish. The Rockets hold Newley’s NBA rights.
- Henk Norel extended his contract with Zaragoza (Spain) for two more seasons. The big man whom the Timberwolves made the 47th pick in 2009 finished the year with 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in Eurocup play.
- Ryan Richards recently signed with the Guangxi Rhinos of the Chinese NBL, which is China’s lower division. A 2010 second-round pick of the Spurs, he bounced around this season, moving from Turkey to Austria and finally to Iran.
2015 NBA DRAFT RELATED PLAYERS
- Nedim Buza signed with Oostende in Belgium after spending the year with Bosnian team Spars Sarajevo. He withdrew from the draft after declaring as an early entrant for the second year in a row.
- Tyler Haws has signed a deal with Obradoiro in Spain that includes an NBA out if he gets drafted or signs with a team by July 31st.
- Alpha Kaba signed with Mega Leks, the same Serbian team that produced recent draft picks Nikola Jokic, Vasilije Micic and Nemanja Dangubic. Although Kaba pulled out of this year’s draft, he drew rave reviews for his length and athleticism during team workouts.
2014-15 NBA SUMMER LEAGUE PLAYERS
- Justin Brownlee moves to Chalon (France) after averaging 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game with Italian second-division team Brescia.
- Melvin Ejim signed with Bayreuth (Germany). He played this season in Italy with Virtus Roma and averaged 7.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
- Abdul Gaddy extended his contract with Virtus Bologna (Italy) for two more seasons. He averaged 7.3 points and 3.7 assists per game this year.
- Steven Gray signed a two-year deal with Gravelines (France) after averaging 16.8 points per game with Dijon (France).
- Stephen Holt signed with Melbourne United (Australia) after putting up 10.9 points per contest for the Canton Charge, the one-to-one affiliate of the Cavs, in the D-League.
- Michael Jenkins signed for two years with Turk Telekom (Turkey). He played for Istanbul BB (Turkey) this year and scored 15.5 points per game.