Seven Free Agents Who Should Go To Europe

by July 24, 2008

by Matt Caputo & Ryne Nelson

Europe isn’t the NBA’s ugly stepbrother anymore. No sir, it ditched the taped-up glasses, freshened its wardrobe, and discovered this thing called deodorant. Sure, Europe may never be as popular as the NBA, but some Leagues overseas are learning what it take$ to attract the world’s premiere athletes.

Given the changing economic circumstances, several American players may follow in Josh Childress’ footsteps…and pronto.

Here are seven free agents who should make Europe a big part of their summer plans…

David Harrison

It’s no lie David Harrison has the talent of an NBA starter. It’s also no lie Harrison takes playing in the world’s finest league a bit for granted.

Harrison could handle a culture shock, in fact he probably needs one. His game, too, could quickly adapt to the European style. Like other European bigs, he runs the floor well, plays the screen-and-roll to perfection, and is hella foul prone.

The things to do in Rome or Portugal blow Indianapolis out of the water. For a guy who’s curious about life outside of basketball, Europe is a great option. Not only will the opportunity to play in a completely new environment suit Harrison, his game might also thrive.

He’s an excellent candidate to make a long career overseas, especially with the value Europe places on talented 7-footers.

Kwame Brown

The turn of the century was an odd time for the NBA.

High schoolers were like Beanie Baby collectibles once were – for a year or two, nearly everyone was willing to spend ungodly amounts to get a hold of them.

Now the Beanies are worth less than their plastic display cases. So what can you do with something that doesn’t hold value?

Give it away to someone who can use it.

Believe it or not, Kwame Brown could be a great player in European leagues, and he certainly would regain some value playing overseas. He’d feel more comfortable without the American media always breathing down his back.

And, hey, if Kwame can get in shape and put up decent numbers, he could prove he’s worthy of a reserve spot in the League.

Robert Horry

You can bet Big Shot Bob isn’t flashing that million-dollar smile tonight.

The Spurs inked Kurt Thomas for the next two seasons, essentially telling Horry he needs to retire or find another place to play.

Horry’s got a big decision ahead of him: Does he retire at low point in his career or does he finish strong in another League? Being the winner that Horry is/was, he’s going to try to win his eighth championship next year…

His only option might be overseas.

Ricky Davis

Because Europeans love body hair, Ricky Davis would be a huge success on foreign hardwood if he chose to revive his famous muttonchops.

A decent second or third scorer in the states – Davis would likely be someone’s first option in Europe. Known for once attempting a shot on the wrong basket in order to add a rebound to his line, Davis’ aggressive style and versatility would benefit his European teammates who lack his athleticism. His swagger on and off the court has suffered in the shadow of Pat Riley; so a change of pace might be best for him.

Specifically, someplace he can run the show.

Jason Williams

When you’re replaced by a second round draft pick, you know it’s time to move on. Trouble is, not many teams would be willing to drop their mid-level exception on J-Will.

In other words, this point guard is between a rock and a hard place.

Let’s face it, when you think European point guard, you don’t think Jason Williams. Sure, he can do everything the your typical European point is capable of – shoot from long-range, hit the open man, gets injured way too often – but his flashy game isn’t your typical match.

While it’s not likely Williams will look overseas, it’s still a good option…if he wants to play significant minutes again.

Sam Cassell

Cassell’s wide smile and often-obnoxious court gestures (i.e. wiggling his fingers on the free throw line making reference to his championship rings) would drive the Euro fans crazy.

He’s a proven leader and floor general who plays well in the clutch.

Having been on eight different NBA teams, including the Bucks, Clippers and Nets, he’d adapt quickly to someplace like Russia, Iran or Lithuania. Being a 3-time champion doesn’t hurt his chances of touching major paper as the 38-year-old brings his career to a close “over-the-water.” Overall, he’s proven he can play well in multiple roles and in multiple locations. Don’t be surprised if you hear he signed with a team on Mars.

Shaun Livingston

Livingston single-handedly turned SportsCenter into Faces of Death one night in February of 2007. The Clippers might as well have renounced the point-guards rights the moment his “highly graphic” knee injury took place. Instead, they waited a year and let Livingston blog on the team website.

The 22-year-old Livingston’s rehab has slowed to a snail’s pace.

Signing in Europe would give him the opportunity to earn a lot of money and possibly play a much shorter schedule – so as to ease himself back into playing at a high level. Problem is, there aren’t many guaranteed contracts overseas like Childress’ and someone who is coming off an injury needs that job security.