A Celtics contingent that included director of scouting Dave Lewin and international scout Benas Matkevicius flew to Spain last month to check on Iverson and formally invite him to join the team’s summer squad again. They watched him practice, then took him to dinner to discuss the state of the team and the role he’d be competing for moving forward. Said Iverson: “We essentially agree on everything that I need to do to make it happen.”
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As it was expected the return of Lamar Odom to the States proved to be also the end of his short European career. His club, Laboral Kutxa, announced that his contract is terminated because he will not be ready to return to action at least for a two month period due to his back problems. The idea of a new career in the old continent might seemed like a possibility for Odom when he crossed the pond, however he was used in total just in two games by his team and only for six minutes in the top European competition, Euroleague.
Lamar Odom is seeking a second basketball chance in Spain and despite being 34 years old, he just wants to play again. On Friday he was presented to the Spanish media and he was quite frank about his motivation to leave behind him the States and play basketball in Europe. As he said: “I talked to my agent and he told me about Laboral Kutxa’s offer. I called Pau Gasol, who spoke highly of coach Scariolo. I quickly accepted the offer, it only took me three days. They have also told me that Vitoria is a city with great love for basketball. I understand that not everything revolves around me, I do not mind the difference between European and NBA basketball. The important thing is to be a humble person”.
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When Baskonia president Josean Querejeta learned Odom was available, head coach Sergio Scariolo called Pau Gasol. He told them Odom had lost weight, was practicing on a daily basis for weeks and had put the big problems he went through behind him. Scariolo also asked Sasha Vujacic (about Lamar Odom), who told him he thought he was fine and looking for another chance to play.
Rivers went so far as telling NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper at the time that he was “hoping things work out” with re-signing Odom, who averaged a career-low 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 88 NBA games last season. But the Clippers ultimately decided to sign three of Odom’s veteran peers instead: Stephen Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu and Sasha Vujacic. Although only Turkoglu has stuck, sources say Odom has decided to relaunch his career far removed from the NBA spotlight in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he’ll team up with a familiar NBA face in Andres Nocioni.
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Such deals typically contain out clauses that allow established veterans such as Odom to return to the NBA if the opportunity arises, but sources told ESPN.com on Monday that Odom’s plan is to play out the rest of this season in Spain before determining whether to attempt an NBA comeback. Odom could make his debut Saturday against Valladolid. Laboral Kutxa is ninth in the 18-team Spanish league and last in its Euroleague group.
Recently, on his blog, the German center announced his intention to return to the Euroleague to play out the second season of his four-year contract with Caja Laboral. “I am in contact with Thunder GM Sam Presti and I often speak on phone with Jonny Rogers, who lives in Barcelona and he is a scout for the Thunder in Europe,” Pleiss wrote in the post. “They look at me each game and they are very satisfied for my performances. But I don’t want to be misunderstood: I think to the NBA in the medium term and I don’t want to talk too much about it. After this season I have three more years on my contract with Baskonia and I will stay at least next season. I feel the confidence of coach Zan Tabak. I know I can become a better player in Vitoria, which is crucial for me.”
Claudio Villanueva, agent for Andres Nocioni, in an interview with Cadena Ser said that two weeks ago the Argentinean forward turned down an offer from the NBA. Nocioni’s contract with Caja Laboral expires after this season. “Andres talked with Josean Querejeta but Caja Laboral has not made a contract extension proposal yet” said Villanueva. “Two weeks ago we got an offer from the NBA but we turned it down for respect of Baskonia” added Vilanueva saying that several European teams are interested in the player. “CSKA Moscow is among them? I cannot comment” ended Villanueva.
In some ways, Teletovic has typified the Nets’ early-season growing pains. He is still figuring things out. Now, he appears in danger of becoming a forgotten man on coach Avery Johnson’s bench. Teletovic didn’t make his way onto the court until the fourth quarter of Friday night’s 107-68 rout of the Orlando Magic. He finished with five points on 2-of-4 shooting. “Talking to other European players who came here for their first year, they told me it’s a process,” said Teletovic, who spent the past six seasons with Caja Laboral of the Spanish League. “You have to get used to it. It’s not only basketball; it’s life around basketball. It’ll take time. But I’m confident.”
“I still want to go to the NBA. For me now, the best solution is to develop step-by-step. Now I will have the chance to play in the best European league and I looking to improve my skills. It is true that I have an NBA buyout for a fixed amount of money” said Pleiss. “The relationship with the Thunder who own my NBA right is great. We will be close and exchange info” added Pleiss who won’t be playing the NBA Summer League as expected.
The young player, who will turn 23 next November, is confident that he will earn a spot with the current NBA runner-up team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the franchise that owns his rights. In any case, Pleiss wouldn’t have any problem finding a place on elite European basketball teams. Caja Laboral, though, is not the only ACB team that has shown interest in his situation.