The Orlando Sentinel and ESPN both report that University of Florida point guard Nick Calathes will skip the NBAD Draft after signing with Greek team Panathinaikos. The deal is reportedly going to pay him $1.1 million dollars a year total. A major reason why this happened is the fact that Calathes is Greek, has dual citizenship and a Greek passport. For those who don’t know, European teams have limits on the number of Americans they can carry on a team. An American with any sort of international passport is a major plus and they usually tend to make more money. Remember the whole ‘Becky Hammon playing for Russia in the Olympics’ saga last summer? Well, she tripled her salary over there this year.
Full details from Chris Harry of the Orlando Sentinel (link above):
“The deal, sources said, will pay Calathes around $1.1 million per year, in addition to providing him with a home, car and tax credits, making for a total package commensurate to what the NBA rookie salary scale provides a late-lottery selection. Golden’s State forward Anthony Randolph, the final lottery pick of 2008 at No. 14, made $1.424 million as a rookie.”
Have to applaud him, a great move by himself and his parents to snag some security. Especially in this type of economy, to find a way to make lottery money is very smart. Despite his talent, Calathes found himself in a weak draft at the only position that had something resembling depth. Nearly 9-10 PG’s were ahead of him and he was slated to go late in the first round or slide into the second round.
I write this because I had heard some vague whispers from a couple Blazer fans about wanting to draft Calathes. I was lukewarm to it at best. Don’t get me wrong, I like Calathes’ game (6’5, can shoot, can penetrate, make plays, finish) but at the end of the day he has the same issues as Blake does on the other end of the court. Plus, I’m against drafting a PG unless it’s a home run and I’m not sure Calathes is a home run right about now.
Now this is the first time I can remember a player who could have been drafted openly shunning the draft before waiting to see. Just to put it in the back of your head, let’s not forget about the movement to Europe that started last summer. I doubt it will be as extreme, but it is definitely a possibility.