Giricek becomes another NBA player to opt for Europe
Croatian guard Gordan Giricek, who has averaged nearly 10 points per game since joining the NBA in 2002, has become the latest player to leave the league for a bigger payday.
Giricek finished last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns. On Tuesday, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard signed a two-year contract -- with an option to return to the NBA next summer -- with Turkey's premier club, Fenerbahce.
"We looked around the NBA," his agent Marc Fleisher said. "Everybody was moving very slowly. And there were great opportunities for him to play overseas for a lot of money. Fenerbahce are Turkish champions and a EuroLeague team. It was a tough decision, and it came down to Fenerbache and Triumph, in Russia."
"Gordan had an offer from the San Antonio Spurs," Fleisher added, "but it was for much less."
Giricek was one of the NBA's top rookies for Memphis in 2002-03. He logged time for the Orlando Magic before settling for five years with the Utah Jazz. Giricek then played briefly for the 76ers before joining Phoenix in March 2008.
With an NBA career 3-point field goal percentage of 37 percent, Giricek has sometimes been pigeonholed as a shooter, but experts insist there is more to his game.
"He's an underrated defender," ESPN analyst David Thorpe said. "And he's very aggressive. He moves well. He's a good NBA player."
Fenerbahce is the latest on a long list of overseas teams that have raided NBA rosters in recent weeks. In nearly every case, agents report that NBA teams have been slow to make offers, while overseas teams have been enthusiastic.
"There is a new sense in Europe," Fleisher said, "that anyone is available. It used to be that they would only go after certain kinds of NBA players. They would make offers to unrestricted free agents or to players who were at the end of their careers. But now they sense that there is an opportunity, thanks to the way the collective bargaining agreement is set up, that they can go after and get NBA players. It's a whole new world."Henry Abbott writes the TrueHoop blog for ESPN.com.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Hornets' Walker has surgery, out 6 weeks
- NBA: Barnes fine not for Sarver interaction
- Durant out 2nd straight game with toe injury
- Bulls stop Warriors in OT; home streak over
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Giricek Signs Deal With Turkish Team
Gordan Giricek, who has averaged nearly 10 points per game since joining the NBA in 2002, signed a two-year contract with Turkey's premier club, Fenerbahce. Story
Pargo Signs With Dynamo Moscow
Jannero Pargo, 28, signed a one-year contract Aug. 15 with the Russia's Dynamo Moscow. Sources say the deal will be worth $3.5 million after taxes have been paid. Story
Arroyo Leaves Orlando For Israel
Orlando's Carlos Arroyo, 29, has accepted an offer from Israel's Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The point guard from Puerto Rico will receive an estimated $2.5 million net next season -- roughly the equivalent of a $5 million NBA salary after taxes -- as part of a three-year deal. Story
Boykins Headed For Italy
Earl Boykins, 32, left the Charlotte Bobcats for a one-year contract with Italy's Virtus Bologna. The deal is said to be worth more than $3.5 million, which would make the 5-foot-5 guard Italy's highest-paid player. Story
Childress to Greece
Josh Childress, 25, left the the Atlanta Hawks after four seasons for Greek club Olympiacos. Childress' three-year deal is worth about $20 million after taxes. Story
Krstic Headed To Russia
Nenad Krstic, 25, who spent four years with the Nets, signed a two-year deal with Triumph Moscow worth about $9 million per year. The 7-footer joined the Nets in 2004 after playing for Partizan Belgrade. Story
Nachbar Returns To Europe
Bostjan Nachbar, 28, agreed to a three-year contract with Dynamo Moscow that pays the former Nets forward $14.3 million. He joined the Rockets in 2002 after playing for Benetton Treviso in Italy. Story
Delfino Joins Russia's BC Khimki
Carlos Delfino, who had played in the NBA since 2004, has returned to Europe. The Argentine guard, who turns 26 on Aug. 29, had played in Italy for Reggio Calabria and Skipper Bologna before joining the Pistons in 2004.
Brezec Roams To Rome
Primoz Brezec, 28, the Slovenian center who spent seven seasons in the NBA with four teams, returns to Europe, where he last played for KK Union Olimpija in 2001. He'll play alongside U.S. teen Brandon Jennings for Roma.
Navarro Rejoins Barcelona
Juan Carlos Navarro rejoined FC Barcelona after a one-season stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. Navarro signed a five-year contract. The 28-year-old guard averaged 10.9 points for Memphis. Story
Garbajosa Leaves Raps For Russia
The Raptors bought out the last year of the Spanish big man's contract, freeing him to join Russia's BC Khimki for a reported two-year, $18 million deal. Jorge Garbajosa, 30, played in Spain and Italy from 1995 to 2006.
Jennings Skips College, Heads To Italy Former Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings signed with Roma of Italy, completing his plan to pass up college and play professionally in Europe to prepare himself for the 2009 NBA draft. Story