If my lovely readers answered the headline's question with "cool names," they would be right. However, Oleksiy Pecherov, Latavious Williams and Alonzo Gee are also three notable on-the-fringe NBA players that decided to sign in Europe on Tuesday with the NBA lockout still looming.
The fact that all three signed in Europe on Tuesday doesn't exactly mean much, but considering a decent amount of near-NBA players also decided to go abroad on Monday, it probably means that the European teams are working to put the finishing touches on their rosters. With this, we're probably also getting closer to having the overseas market dry up, a perilous outcome for the other NBA players still looking for work in light of the lockout.
The biggest name of the three is probably Pecherov, a Stewie Griffin doppelganger and first round pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Pecherov didn't play in the NBA last season -- which I didn't realize before sitting down to write this post -- and won't play in the NBA next season, either, as he's signed on to play with Azovmash in Eurocup competition.
Next up on the list of guys with cool names who decided to sign in Europe on a Tuesday in August is Mr. Williams, or LATAVIOUS WILLIAMS!!!1!! if you're a frequent reader of Ridiculous Upside.
Williams has always been a player of intrigue around these parts because he was the first player to jump from high school to the D-League (despite being 20ish years old at the time) and has slowly developed from an athlete into an athlete with more basketball abilities than he had before, possibly even enough to make him a candidate for the end of an NBA roster. Unfortunately that won't be happening this season, however, as Williams has signed with Joventut in Spain. Bonus: his point guard will be Pooh Jeter.
Last, but not least on this illustrious list, is former D-League call-up Alonzo Gee. Gee had the best previous season of his compadres on this list as he started 29 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that speaks more to the quality of basketball that was played at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Gee had a non-guaranteed contract in place with the Cavs going into next season, but as a player that has witnessed first-hand confusing things that happen with non-guaranteed NBA contracts, he's decided to take his talents to Europe for the first time since coming out of Alabama two seasons ago. Gee will play in Poland with Asseco Prokom, a Euroleague team.
Other American players with names not as cool as the three aforementioned ballers who signed in Europe on Tuesday:
- Lonny Baxter, who is probably remembered by the same people that remembered Milt Palacio as well as fans of the Chicago Bulls, will play in Russia with Enisey for a second consecutive season.
- Aaron Miles, the best point guard in the D-League this past season before a most-unfortunate knee injury, signed to play in Russia this season with Krasnie Krilya. If healthy, and if no NBA lockout, Miles should've been in the NBA this year -- but playing with Joe Alexander and Jarvis Hayes in Russia is a decent consolation prize, maybe.
- Chris Lofton signed with Estudiantes in Spain after splitting last year between the D-League and Russia. Good choice as he's not the type of player that's going to earn a call-up from the D-League despite his obvious talents. He'll join former NBAers Cedric Simmons and Antoine Wright.