(Two weeks ago, I started a series taking on the topic of how Thunder players should use the off-season to improve. The first edition involved Nick Collison and his lack of super duper awesome facial hair.)
In the Summer of 2008, Nenad Krstic was coming off knee surgery, the U.S. Dollar was cratering, and Russian team Triumph Lyburtsy wanted to make a splash in the Euro Super League. Krstic, who was having to deal with restricted free agency and questions about his knee, took the opportunity to return closer to home where he could make better money. Of course, the novelty of NBA players defecting to Europe wore off quickly when it became clear that the guarantee in “guaranteed contracts” only applies to the team when you are across the pond. Triumph did not make the impact they wanted and pretty much stopped paying their players as a result. Krstic quickly got out of his contract and returned to the U.S.
In just one more example of Sam Presti scouring the bargain bins, the Thunder GM quickly signed him to an offer sheet that paid a below market value for a seven footer who could start at center. Then, considering that Nenad was all of 25 years old and had posted career highs of 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game before his knee injury, it was a coup.
A year and a half later, some people have forgotten just how lucky Oklahoma City was to acquire a free agent capable of starting 105 games in the middle of a season. Now, his faults are scoured over constantly. Today, I will be no different, because everyone knows he can do better. Keep Reading…