BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
European clubs are losing players with the NBA lockout coming to an end and some are quickly adding reinforcements.
Real Madrid, who are challenging for the Spanish title and also looking to book a return trip to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, are saying good-bye to Rudy Fernandez of the Dallas Mavericks and Serge Ibaka of Oklahoma City.
But they are welcoming Kyle Singler of Lucentum Alicante into their squad.
Singler, who played for Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University, was selected at the beginning of the second round by the Detroit Pistons and had a clause in his contract that allows him to go back to the United States once the lockout ends.
But instead, he will remain in Europe and make a step up on the old continent with Madrid with Alicante having transferred his right to the Spanish giants.
"I never denied that we were looking at the market in a strange situation as this one," said Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso, who is one of the lecturers in the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate Programme.
"It's clear that Singler is one of the players that we have looked at."
The 2.03m Singler, who will join former Duke teammate Martynas Pocius - a Lithuania international - at Madrid, has averaged 15 points per game in the Liga Endesa, helping Alicante with a fast 6-3 start.
He will return to Alicante on January 15 when Madrid face his former team.
Lithuanian giants Zalgiris Kaunas have also lost a couple of NBA players with Ty Lawson going back to Denver and Sonny Weems to Toronto.
The door has opened for 24-year-old Povilas Butkevicius to return to the Kaunas team.
Butkevicius, a 2.03m forward, had been competing with Rudupis in the Eurocup and averaging seven points and six rebounds.
He will hope to impress and received minutes in the Euroleague.
Zalgiris announced his return on Friday.
Caja Laboral and Valencia will also be looking for new players.
Kevin Seraphin of Washington and recent signing Goran Dragic of Houston have been with the former during the lockout, and Splitter of San Antonio has been playing big minutes for Valencia.
All three players are going to return soon to the NBA.
Georgia's EuroChallenge outfit Armia, with NBA guard Sundiata Gaines having been in their squad, have added Clifton Hawkins and Matthew Freije.
In this week's EuroChallenge win over Göttingen, the 2.07m power forward Freije played eight minutes and missed all four of his shots from the floor and failing to score.
He has represented Lebanon's national team.
Hawkins was in the squad for Tuesday's game but did not appear.
Olin Edirne, meanwhile, suffered their fourth defeat in as many games in the EuroChallenge this week at ETHA in Cyprus.
They have let Luka Drezga go and added Bulgaria international Filip Videnov.
Hungarians Atomerömü, whose hopes of progressing in the EuroChallenge are hanging by a thread with one win in four Group D games, have added Nicholas Williams.
Williams is a 1.92m shooting guard from Texas.
Besiktas had been searching for a center and the injury suffered by Semih Erden heightened the urgency of bringing in a new pivot.
Kyrylo Fesenko, a Ukraine international, has been linked with a move to Besiktas.
Fesenko was a teammate of Deron Williams with the Utah Jazz and so was Mehmet Okur of Turk Telekom.
While a replacement for him has yet to be found in Ankara, Okur looked at the situation in Istanbul.
"The end of the lockout will challenge Besiktas," he said.
"It is not easy to replace Deron."
Besiktas has won all four of their games in EuroChallenge Group B.