The last time Ryan Gomes was this close to Germany was back during the 2010-11 NBA season with the Los Angeles Clippers when he played alongside dual citizenship big man, Chris Kaman.
But that all changed on Thanksgiving Day when Gomes -- the former Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics 6'8 forward -- agreed to terms with the Artland Dragons of Germany's BEKO BBL. And now Gomes has plenty to be thankful for.
Not only is he going to a team who owns the fourth best record (6-3) in the BBL, but will also improve Artland's chances (1-2) of battling in EuroCup competition.
"We are happy that a player of Ryan's reputation has decided to play for the Dragons," said Artland head coach Stefan Koch.
"For Ryan, Quakenbrück is his first stop in Europe, and he also will not be in top shape. But he has an excellent reputation as a player and as a person, so we can minimize the risk."
Back in mid-July, the Clippers waived Gomes after two seasons with the team by using the NBA's amnesty provision. Prior to signing with LA as a free-agent in 2010, Gomes (who will make his entire $4-million salary, but it won't count against the Clippers' salary cap and luxury-tax threshold) averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 76 games with Minnesota, but he struggled in Los Angeles last season to get off of the bench and only managed 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game.
The last connection the 30-year old Gomes had to an NBA team was in late September when the Charlotte Bobcats worked out the all-time leading scorer at Providenc, but after the Bobcats opted to go in a different direction Gomes' camp was left to wait and see where the offers would come from.
Little did Gomes know then that his next stop would be overseas in Germany.
While he will not arrive in Germany until next week and it will take time for Gomes to get into game shape, Artland is a team with tremendous upside in both the BBL and EuroCup. Led by Bryce Taylor (14.1 points per game) and Marquez Haynes (13.2 points per game), Artland made major moves during the offseason to particularly re-build their backcourt by adding Taylor, Haynes and Demond Mallet. But when Mallet injured a peck muscle and the team labeled him out "indefinitely", there was cause for concern in Quakenbrück.
Thankfully Mallet is a quick healer and returned this week to score 10 points and dish out four assists in Artland's EuroCup win over Le Mans.
The tough part about signing Gomes: losing Dennis Horner.
Artland's center, who was released to make room for Gomes, was averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds per game in 3 EuroCup games, and 7 points and 7 rebounds per game in 3 BBL games, but the team felt they need more production at the forward position instead of from their middle man and now they are banking on Gomes providing that scoring.
Trying to bounce back after two lackluster seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, Gomes will have to show and prove he has a lot of game left in Germany.