From ESPN.com’s Chad Ford: “Former New Jersey Nets big man Nenad Krstic followed Josh Childress’ lead this summer and bolted the NBA for the riches of international basketball. Seven weeks into the season, Krstic is on the verge of coming back to the NBA. Two league sources told ESPN.com on Friday the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed in principle to sign Krstic to a three-year offer sheet. The deal should be finalized on Monday, according to the sources.
Krstic is still a restricted free agent. The Nets would have seven days to match the deal once they receive the offer sheet. A league source in New Jersey said the chances of the Nets matching what is believed to be a three-year, $15 million offer are slim. The Nets like Krstic but are trying to clear cap space for the summer of 2010 … A Thunder source said that the team has been in pursuit of Krstic for a while and considered making him an offer this summer. After watching him play in Russia, they believed he was finally healthy and would command a large salary next year. With nearly all of the team’s mid-level exception available, they decided to cut off the competition and lock up Krstic now.“
Krstic was having a breakout year in 2006 before an awful ACL injury sidelined him. In 26 games that year, he averaged 16.4 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. He’s just 25 years old and is a solid seven-footer that OKC desperately needs. It’s hard to say if he’s really a good solution to the current problem, but his presence sure won’t hurt. Right now, OKC is getting little to no production from the frontcourt. Having Krstic should open up more mid-range looks for Kevin Durant and Jeff Green and give Russell Westbrook a reliable post-scorer to pass to on dribble drives.
If Krstic is completely healthy and can return to his 2006 form, this is a solid pickup. But if he’s unproductive and not fully-recovered, this could be a major setback dishing out $15 million to someone that’s going to give you as much production as the guys you’ve already got. This piles up more OKC big men, which suggests that someone out of Robert Swift, Johan Petro, Nick Collison or Chris Wilcox will likely be moved.