Monday, July 28, 2008
Agent: Krstic leaving Nets to play for team in Moscow
By Chad Ford
New Jersey Nets free agent Nenad Krstic signed a two year deal worth $3 million euros per year with Triumph Moscow early Tuesday morning, Krstic's agent, Marc Cornstein, said.
The salary is the equivalent of around $9 million per year in the United States once you factor in the exchange rate and the fact that European clubs pay all the players' taxes.
Cornstein worked until midnight Eastern time trying to find an NBA team willing to pay Krstic at least a mid-level contract to keep him in the NBA. But as the midnight deadline passed, Krstic became the sixth NBA player to recently bolt the league for Europe.
"At the end of the day, Triumph offered him the most love," Cornstein told ESPN.com. "This was too good of a deal to pass up for him."
Krstic joins Josh Childress, Bostjan Nachbar, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jorge Garbajosa, Carlos Delfino and Primoz Brezec as NBA players who opted to play for more money overseas this year. Three of the six are Cornstein clients.
Krstic was having a near All-Star season in 2007 when he injured his ACL. His comeback last season was slow and at the end of the day teams opted against offering him the contract Cornstein was seeking, a two year deal (with a player option for the third year) starting at around $5 million per season.
The interest from a relatively unknown team in Russia, Triumph, will certainly raise even more eyebrows. It's one thing when Euroleague powerhouses like Olympiacos sign Childress. But when non-Euroleague teams like Triumph start being able to outbid NBA teams ... has the pendulum swung entirely the other way?
"I think you almost have NBA teams being overly cautious at this point," one Eastern Conference GM told Insider. "With so many teams so close to the luxury tax, teams are unwilling to take risks. Krstic was a risk. A small one, but a risk. We are certainly seeing the effects of the collective bargaining agreement this year. But these things are cyclical. If lots of team had cap room, Childress, Krstic and others would be playing in the NBA."
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.