- Chad Ford, ESPN Senior Writer
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Krstic signed his contract with the Nets on Tuesday.
Krstic, who spent the last two seasons playing for Partizan Belgrade in Serbia (part-owned by Lakers center Vlade Divac), reached a buyout with his club on Monday clearing the way for him to play for the Nets.
Because Krstic was a first-round pick, the contract will be a standard three-year rookie contract.
Krstic is expected to be the starting power forward/center for the Serbia-Montenegro team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens this summer.
"I look forward to playing in the NBA," Krstic said. "I learned a lot playing for Partizan and winning a national championship with them. I am excited about coming to play for the Nets and helping to get the team back to the NBA Finals."
The Nets drafted the 6-foot-11 center, sight unseen, with the 24th pick in the 2002 draft. He's a favorite of Divac, who tried to sneak him into the draft as a favor to the Kings. The Nets caught wind and drafted him, stunning just about everyone. Krstic, who turns 21 this summer, went on to have a stellar season in 2002-03 for Partizan in Serbia, averaging 15 points and 6.2 rebounds a game.
An early injury kept him out much of the 2003-04 season, but he came on strong late, averaging 13.4 points per game. He averaged just 2.8 rebounds a game over the season, though, which is a bit of a concern for someone his size. Krstic has a great mid-range jumper, is a good athlete and passer and an excellent free-throw shooter. He's an above-average scorer at his position, but he'll have to add some toughness and rebounding in the NBA. Still, Krstic could be the Nets' long-term answer in the middle.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
The Nets have reached an agreement with 2002 first-round pick Nenad Krstic.