|22 February 2013|
EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Slovenian international Beno Udrih will continue his NBA career with the Orlando Magic |
The NBA transfer deadline came and went on Thursday night and left only two players of the sizeable European contingent in the league looking for carton boxes to pack their stuff and move house.
Spanish point guard Jose Calderon sealed a move from the Toronto Raptors to the Detroit Pistons on the last day of January and has already played several games with his new team.
Another European guard meanwhile, Beno Udrih of Slovenia, was part of a multi-player trade between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic that concluded in the final hours before the transfer window shut down and saw him landing in the Florida club.
Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb followed Udrih to Orlando, while JJ Redick, Gustavo Ayon, formerly of Spanish club Fuenlabrada, and Ish Smith were shipped to Milwaukee.
The good news for Udrih is that he is familiar with Orlando head coach Jacque Vaughn, with whom he coincided during his spell at San Antonio, at the beginning of the Slovenian's nine-year long career in the NBA.
He is also joining in Orlando Montenegrin international Nikola Vucevic, who is having a fantastic season this year, averaging a double-double of 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds as their starting center.
In 39 games with the Bucks this season, Udrih averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 assists, while scoring in double figures in 11 games.
Both Calderon and Udrih carry on their existing contracts to their new teams, which expire in the summer, and as a result they could move to a new destination before the start of next season.
Another Raptors player, Italian international Andrea Bargnani, was curiously the European who was considered most likely to change scenery during this transfer window, but stayed with the Canadian team.
The 27-year-old center returned to the Toronto line-up on 6 February after shaking off an injury that kept him sidelined for two months and has been struggling for form this season.
In 27 games so far, he is averaging 14 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists but his stat lines have been more discreet since his return to action.
One more European who had to read and listen to transfer scenarios since the start of the season was Pau Gasol, who in the end stayed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rumours on a possible mega-trade involving the Spanish superstar intensified after the arrival of coach Mike D'Antoni at the Lakers, shortly after the start of the season, but Gasol has showed his exemplary professional ethos throughout and will stay in California at least until the end of the season.
Scenarios involving another European big man, Marcin Gortat of Poland, surfaced during last weekend's All Star Break but the center has stayed at the Phoenix Suns, where he is averaging 11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season.