NBA Vets Ime Udoka And Charlie Bell Sign Overseas, Antonio Daniels Could Be Next


The D-League or signing overseas.

That seems to be the final destination options when it comes to NBA free-agent veterans these days, and while guys like Ricky Davis, Mike James and Greg Ostertag are opting for the D-League route in an attempt to make it back to the league, others are steadily finding work in Europe.

Expect the trend to grow.

After spending training camp with the New Jersey Nets, Ime Udoka signed with UCAM Murcia in the ACB Spanish League for the remainder of the season the team announced today.

"[Ime] is a great shooter who also knows how to sacrifice himself in defense ... it sure makes his teammates better," said Paco Guillem, UCAM Murcia's sporting director, in a team press release.

Udoka joins American-import players James Augustine and Rob Kurz on the roster, as the seven-year NBA veteran swing guard who played 20 games with the San Antonio Spurs last season will replace Matt Walsh, who was released from the team this week.

The 34-year-old Udoka was the last training camp roster cut by the Nets (who went with power forward Dennis Horner, who started the season with the Springfield Armor) and has played for the Knicks, Lakers, Blazers, Kings and Spurs and has averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds during his career. While Udoka worked out last week with the Phoenix Suns along with undrafted Pittsburgh alum Gilbert Brown and former NBA All-Star Michael Redd, the Suns opted to go in a different direction. Redd signed with Phoenix, Brown landed in the D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and now Udoka has found a home back overseas in Spain.

This will be his second experience playing abroad. During the 2004-05 season, Udoka averaged 8.1 points and 4 rebounds per game in 15 games with Gran Canaria in ACB, before jumping to the New York Knicks on a 10-day contact.

Udoka's signing marks part of a continuous influx of NBA free-agent veteran players inking overseas deals with even more expected to come.

After playing last season for the Golden State Warriors and being waived by the team using their amnesty clause, Charlie Bell signed with the Otto Caserta in Italy this week as well.

The 6-foot-3 guard bounced around the league with the Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks over seven seasons, and now returns to a familiar scene where his basketball success helped catapult him into the NBA.

Bell helped Benetton Treviso win a title in the Italian League and he also averaged 27 points per game for Leche Rio Breogan in Spain for one season.

So who is next NBA veteran to make the jump overseas?

Try former Texas Legends guard, Antonio Daniels.

Over the last week, Greece's Olympiakos has shown interest in both point guard Earl Boykins and center DJ Mbenga and now you can add Daniels to the mix. A person close to Mbenga confirmed he has not spoken to the team, and apparently ownership is shifting their focus to include Daniels. The veteran guard spent last season with the Legends before joining the Philadelphia 76ers.

Daniels' road -- much like Udoka and Bell -- back to the NBA or even into the D-League may go through Europe this season, but he certainly won't be the last free agent vet to head overseas to play this season.

Wendell Maxey is a featured writer with Ridiculous Upside and covers basketball overseas and the NBA and D-League at large. After spending the last eight years covering the NBA in New York, New Jersey and Portland, Wendell now lives in Nuremberg, Germany. You can read more of his writing at Beyond The Beat and follow him onTwitter @w_maxey.

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