By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
Top talent is hard to find all over the world and the EuroLeague test is one that ensures a seal of quality for NBA teams. That’s why once more a number of EuroLeague players are expected to move to the other side of the Atlantic, and of course, a number of NBA players will do the opposite.
Eurohoops presents a number of players who for a variety of reasons may make the jump to the NBA this summer. This is not a valuation of their talent, since a lot of EuroLeague players in Europe can hold their own in the NBA, but a presentation in no particular order of 10 cases that have already either made contact with the NBA or are in search of a move to the top league in the world, including the conditions under which a transfer may be completed
Vasilje Micic (28 years old – 2014 NBA draft: 52)
The best international point guard outside the NBA, Micic doesn’t have a lot to prove in Europe anymore. He is a back-to-back EuroLeague champion and Final Four MVP, he is a marquee name and has one of the top contracts outside the NBA, third-best behind Nikola Mirotic and his teammate Shane Larkin.
Micic’s rights belong to Oklahoma City, which is loaded in the point guard position. So, only if a trade happens Micic will make the jump. At this point of his career, he doesn’t want to go to the NBA and sit on the bench. It remains to be seen if OKC can accommodate him and use him as an asset, so everyone can be happy in the end. His buy-out clause expires in mid-July and by then it would be totally clear if he stays in Anadolu Efes or not. And while OKC is not a preferable destination, other teams in the NBA who have a long tradition in international players and connections to ex-Yugoslavia may be already interested…
Toko Shengelia (30 years old – 2012 NBA draft: 42)
This is a totally different situation. Shengelia has already played in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls between 2012 and 2014. He returned to Europe and emerged as one of the best forwards on the continent. He is already one of the hottest names in the EuroLeague summer market after leaving CSKA Moscow and finishing the season with Virtus Bologna, but according to Eurohoops sources he wishes to make one more push for an NBA return. And despite the rumors about European deals, this remains his number one priority.
He will be a free agent this summer with Barcelona and Virtus Bologna having already initiated talks with him. There are more suitors, of course, but he is also waiting for some NBA calls.
Mike James (31 years old – Undrafted)
Mike James is hands down one of the top players in the EuroLeague, if not the best. He has proved beyond any doubt that he can be a part of an NBA team last year, finishing the season with the Nets. And he is a free agent this summer with his good friend Kevin Durant traveling all the way to Europe not only in Monaco but also in Pireaus, Greece, to watch him play.
With Monaco already aiming high and having the money to do so, the future of Mike James in the club will be in question, only if the NBA comes calling with a really good offer, not only money-wise but also about his role. And with the Nets in need of talent and having already a loaded salary cap, Mike James might be a good addition.