European Free Agents - A Strategy for the Offseason

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The transition of players from Europe to the NBA is varied to say the least. With the best young players going in the draft and older players staying with the benefits of being number one options, players as free agent options can be a confusing problem to decipher for the leagues front offices.

But in recent years more of Europes finest have seemed to have interest in taking lesser roles for an NBA paycheck. Open schemes and small ball becoming the norm have afforded successful transitions of players with role playing skills, that fit the new league trends.

Mid career players like Joe Ingles have provided a path on having older players translate to good back up play and the potential of signing impact free agents from Europe being successful. Malcolm Delaney on a 2 year 5 million deal (in the new CBA) has shown an ability to be a below market back up to Atlanta's Dennis Schroeder. Mindaugas Kuzminskas has emerged as a bright spot on what otherwise frustrating Knicks season, and has far outplayed his annual 2 million per salary.

More of Europes finest seem to have taken notice planning to make a similar move. If the Kings are smart such players can be got for below market, and be good back ups. Here are some of the players interested that the Kings should consider.


Former Gator Scottie Wilbekin has demonstrated an ability to be an offensive spark plug with a fearless jumper. Being a potential score first guard off the bench, Wilbekin has improved greatly over this season in Turkey.

DJ Cooper, a point guard for French leagues Pau Orthez, has demonstrated ability to shoot off the dribble and create for others. Averaging over 11 assist per game, Cooper can create from penetration or from the perimeter while excelling in running pick and rolls. Despite a 33% three point shot Cooper has a willingness to take the shot and could potentially improve the percentage with lower usage and more surrounding threats.

Veteran Mantas Kalnietis has shown NBA interest in the past, but after another excellent season might consider a move again. At 6-5, the 30 year old guard has the size to see passing lanes and has demonstrated an ability to be effective at either backcourt positions. Shooting above his career averages at 44% beyond the arc, along with an ability to create for others, Kalnietis might be most able to seamlessly fill a back up spot on the minimum.

Edwin Jackson, a combo guard who I profiled as a potential free agent acquisition a couple of years ago has also shown interest in coming over the pond. After struggling in other stops Jackson has been one of the standout individual players in Europe this season at Estudiantes, in the competitive Spanish ACB. His ability to create off the dribble, and be a potential gunner on second units has chances to translate as a score savvy back up in positions in need of depth.


After an up and down season with the Westchester Knicks, rumor has it Darion Atkins has begun to find his footing in the Isreali league. Demonstrating offensive abilities to pair with his sound defensive skills, Atkins is a potential flyer to consider.

Howard Sant-Roos a small forward/shooting guard from the Czech NBL has had eye popping numbers in his season play. With an over 30 PER, 40% percent 3 point stroke on high usage and excellent perimeter defense, Sant-Roos ability to potentially be useful in offball sets and be effective on either side of the ball has potential as an NBA swingman.

Johannes Voightmann a center playing in the ACB has shown an ability with soft hands and smart instincts to be an offensive force against good competition. At 24 there is time for Voightmann to grow into skills which he has shown some ability to stretch to the three as well as have possessions run threw him. Voightmann is one of the stronger flyers that could potentially make the transition

Nicolo Melli, a power forward for Germany's Brose Bamberg has come on as of late with ability to stretch the floor and possessing a number of tools. With a knack of sliding into space, fairly quick trigger and a 50 percent clip beyond the arc, Melli offers upside as a four that can adapt to NBA play. As a savvy ball handler for his size, Melli demonstrates some point forward skills, with abilities to hockey assist and create on penetration. His game has matured while being able to be effective in off ball positions. Melli's standout rebound rate also adds another foil to an otherwise intriguing game and is potentially the best flyer considering a move stateside.


Through injuries, setbacks, controversial team profiles, the Kings have no shortage of drama. These issues are only second to an offseason that appears less optimistic than in the past. With compromised draft picks, the Kings are in tepid waters on gaining another ceiling prospect. If they are lucky enough to keep their first, they loose second rounders that remove cheap ways to fill out rotations. And with new CBA money still being available for many teams, the Kings face harsh competition in competing for top free agents and also affording room for depth.

Some of these concerns can be negated. Trading off expiring's for even marginal potential rotation players with small cap holds is still possible. Injuries and trades at the deadline could afford the Kings to keep their first even if it flips with Phili, a viable asset. And they do have room to chase some attractive names on the market.

Still with compromised assets in the future, and the reality that they will most likely have to overpay premium talent, the Kings will have to get creative with how to find undervalued assets at least for their bench. To do that the Kings are smart to look to Europe as similar talent can be found for far below the going rate. Jumping on this when it is still an unknown is the way to make progress in the Kings predicament.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)