Sources: Krstic, Thunder agree to deal
By Chad Ford
Former New Jersey Nets big man Nenad Krstic followed Josh Childress' lead this summer and bolted the NBA for the riches of international basketball.
Seven weeks into the season, Krstic is on the verge of coming back to the NBA.
Two league sources told ESPN.com on Friday the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed in principle to sign Krstic to a three-year offer sheet. The deal should be finalized on Monday, according to the sources.
Krstic is still a restricted free agent. The Nets would have seven days to match the deal once they receive the offer sheet.
A league source in New Jersey said the chances of the Nets matching what is believed to be a three-year, $15 million offer are slim. The Nets like Krstic but are trying to clear cap space for the summer of 2010.
The move, if completed, fills a big need for the Thunder in their frontcourt. Krstic is an excellent scorer who can play both power forward and center.
During the fall of 2006, Krstic was playing like an All-Star before a torn ACL sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Krstic returned for the 2007-08 season but clearly wasn't fully recovered. He averaged a career low of 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds for the Nets.
In late July he announced he was leaving the NBA for Triumph Moscow in a deal worth 3 million euro a year, or about $6 million-$7 million with the exchange rate and the fact European clubs pay their players' taxes.
A Thunder source said that the team has been in pursuit of Krstic for a while and considered making him an offer this summer.
After watching him play in Russia, the Thunder believed he was finally healthy and would command a large salary next year. With nearly all of the team's midlevel exception available, they decided to cut off the competition and lock up Krstic now.
i´m not happy about this. clearly, krstic has struggled to come back from his injury, but he´s still a young man not yet in his prime.
unfortunately he and lopez are both pure centers (ie, too redundant), otherwise how could you pass something like this up? $5mil for three years is a somewhat hefty contract, but not for a center and not as an insurance strong prospect. because if something serious happens to lopez we are right back at square zero.
unfortunately, as long as the nets are stuck in jersey we are not going to be able to afford insurance policies like this. would that we were the knicks in which case an extra $5mil per would be chump change. the NBA can be so unfair sometimes.
That's bad news for me because his team is coming to Estonia somewhere in the middle of January. Tho they would be weaker opponents without him I really would like to see him play. And if possible get his autograph too :P