By Antonis Stroggylakis & Dionysis Aravantinos/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source.
James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. While the 30-year-old guard is still under a three-year contract (until 2023) with the Russian powerhouse, the club is ready to accommodate the player in case he finds a team to sign in the NBA.
He last played in the NBA in 2017-2018, averaging 9.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 19.1 minutes over 36 games, 32 with the Phoenix Suns and four with the New Orleans Pelicans. Since then and during his return to Europe, he won EuroLeague’s “Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy” in 2019 as a player of Olimpia Milano.
The Nets have been exploring the market regarding players who could help the team ahead of the playoffs and during the pursuit for the first NBA championship in the history of the franchise. While Brooklyn has a hole on its frontline lineup following LaMarcus Aldridge’s surprising decision to retire, several guards of the team remain sidelined with injuries.
Nets general manager Sean Marks has mentioned that the team will evaluate the status of its needs with a healthier roster, while not ruling out the addition of a guard.
“It’s a quandary where we’re at right now,” Marks said. “You can not replace LaMarcus and you are not going to find another LaMarcus sitting out there waiting for us. I think what we are going to look at is once James gets back in the fold, Kevin comes back up and we get a couple other guys healthy, we’ll have a better idea on what we need in rotations and players. I don’t think it’s set in stone that we have to go one way or another – whether it’s a big or a guard – I think we’ll look at where are needs are over the course of the next week and make that determination.”
Before his latest suspension by CSKA, James was averaging a then-competition-high 19.3 points, along with 5.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 31:10 minutes in EuroLeague. He was considered to be one of the frontrunners in the race for season MVP.