Sources: Krstic, Thunder agree to deal

Updated: December 19, 2008, 11:36 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com

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.

Krstic

Krstic

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.

This summer, Krstic, a restricted free agent, struggled to get a big offer from an NBA club.

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.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN.com.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

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