Former Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic, who was part of a trade with the Boston Celtics, has agreed to a two-year, $8.8-million deal to play for CSKA Moscow, according to a report by the Russian International News Agency. The move comes as no surprise, with the NBA headed toward an apparent lockout and Krstic, a native of Serbia, having already played pro ball extensively overseas.
Well, it looks like our favourite Serbian center is headed back overseas. This isn't anything to be too concerned about lockout-wise. Foreign contracts can always be bought out, and Krstic probably wasn't going to find a starting gig in the NBA anyway. It probably makes more sense for him to head back to Europe at this juncture, where he's still in his prime, he can play for a premiere club, and he can avoid the inevitable lockout. Then, if he's healthy enough after two years and there's interest in his services, he can head back over to the NBA when the Free Agency waters are less murky.
But, there is a little bit to be concerned about. Just how much talent will we see jump ship because of the potential lock-out, and how much of it is coming back? I know I might be a little bit crazy, but it's not hard to see guys like Peja Stojakovic, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Sasha Vujacic, Mickael Pietrus, or Kyrylo Fesenko, who are all free agents this year, consider heading to destinations back in Europe. They are all guys who are either in the twilight of their careers or aren't considered extremely saught-after NBA talent, so it's not hard to see them leaving for good.
And what if the flight continues? Maybe a disgruntled star like Andrei Kirilenko decides to pack it up and head back to Russia? Maybe a good player like Jason Richardson sees Euro signs? Maybe Yao Ming heads back to China? Hell, maybe even a legitimate All-Star contender like Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, or J.R. Smith decides to head over.
It's all very speculative at this point, and I'm not trying to say that just because there's a leak that the Dam is going to collapse. But I am trying to say that it's something worth keeping an eye on, for Nenad Krstic is not alone in his situation. We might see a significant drop in NBA talent, and some familiar names gone forever. We might even see the Euroleague start to seriously contend with the NBA in the upcoming pre-season exhibition matches....but, I think I'm getting too far ahead of myself.