Sportando's David Pick sheds light on Keith Langford (193-G/F-83, college: Kansas)'s NBA and European offers, problems with Khimki Moscow, conversations with Ettore Messina, text messages with David Blatt, interest from Barcelona and Malaga, committing to Fenerbahce Ulker and how he ended up in Milano.
Nearly three months ago, after capitalizing an outstanding Adriatic League title and Final Four Most Valuable Player honors, Maccabi Tel Aviv executives reached out to Nick Lotsos, Keith Langford's Greek-American agent. "We want Keith to play for Maccabi for the next two season."
Langford, a former NCAA noteworthy Jayhawk and until recent -- most abhorrent guard in Europe -- looked to keep hooping in Israel.
The two sides' agreement stated Langford would earn an estimated $1.1 million next season. Problem was, due to Langford's triple title season (Adriatic League champion, Israeli League champion and Israeli League Cup holder), his outstanding Euroleague run, and the fact that his market value was increasing quickly, Langford preferred to test free agent waters and declined Maccabi's two year, $2 million proposal.
According to Tel Aviv's first bid, the 28-year-old Langford would earn $800,000 next season and $1.2 million during the 2013-14 season.
Firstly, when joining Maccabi in October 2011, Langford's stint in Israel looked far from promising. After overcoming a torn MCL in his right knee, Langford played spotty backup minutes so that Jordan Farmar, Theodoros Papaloukas and Euroleague rookie Yogev Ohayon could get a breather. Maccabi fans felt cheated by Langford's poor performances.
Yet with the NBA lockout ending, Farmar returned to the United States and Langford found his rhythm, blossoming into one of the most dominant guards throughout Europe, en route to leading Tel Aviv to the Elite 8 Euroleague playoffs series versus Greek giant Panathinaikos.
Despite the Greeks clinching a 3-2 series victory, the left-handed Langford topped his regular Euroleague season numbers with 13.4 points, 2.4 boards and 2.4 dimes per game while toying with elite European defenders in Dimitris Diamantidis, Nick Calathes and Romain Sato.
The versatile explosive guard recorded Euroleague season averages of 11 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game and would raise his scoring and rebounding figures in the Israeli competition to season highs of 14.2 points and 4 boards per contest.
While other European teams took firm interest in Langford, Lotsos told Maccabi to upped their bidding. After a number of team management meetings, Tel Aviv owner Danny Federman and Chairman Shimon Mizrahi decided to raise their offer by an extra $100,000. After consulting Lotsos, Langford turned it down.
However, the European market was moving slow and Langford's "problematic" history with Russian organization Khimki Moscow began to haunt him. "Teams were asking for a detailed desc ription about Keith's situation in Moscow. They wanted to know what happened, and his (harmful) history started catching up," said one source close to the player. In addition, "Teams looked for details on Keith's interaction on and off the court in Tel Aviv," said another source.
In March 2011, Langford signed a two year contract extension with Khimki, worth a guaranteed $4.5 million, only to have it vetoed during September that year. The former Russian League All-Star dealt not only with several season injuries, but with animosity from Khimki as well.
"People were curios to know what happened in Russia," Langford told Sportando from his home in Austin, Texas. "Every team asked about my history with Khimki, including a few NBA teams. It didnt have an effect in the long run, but it intimidated some people. They became more cautious," he said.
Undisclosed NBA teams that had Langford on their recruiting radar asked for a background desc ription on his European history. Langford's NBA interest included several NBA Summer League invites and two partial guaranteed offers from two Eastern Conference Playoffs organizations. One of them causing Langford, a two time Big 12 Conference regular season champion, to seriously consider. "He was really thinking of accepting one of the NBA offers, but at this point in his career he decided to keep climbing the European ladder," said the first source.
That said, Langford's Euroleague interest began to heat up after a phone call conversation between (then) Los Angeles Lakers' Consultant Ettore Messina and Lotsos. "Langford is a name that really interest me. Let's open negotiations after I officially sign with CSKA Moscow," said Messina.
Later on, Langford understood that Messina and CSKA were building around Serbian point guard Milos Teodosic (also Lotsos' client). Knowing Teodosic's style of play and amount of ball handling he requires, Lotsos thought it be best if Langford found his own niche.
After netting 17 points in the Israeli Semi-finals victory over Hapoel Holon on May 22nd, Langford was the last player to leave Nokia Arena. Around 00:20am, some 80 minutes after the final buzzer sounded, Langford was showered with love by dozens of young Maccabi supporters while heading to his Nissan Qashqai vehicle.
The multitalented scorer appreciated the yellow-and-blue support and paid the same respect to David Blatt throughout the summer. "Blatt and I spoke a number of times this summer," said Langford. "He's dealt with situations like these before and he was real relaxed. After finalizing things with Milano, I texted him and thanked him for everything he's helped me with this past season. He wished me the best of luck," Langford commented.
During the first weeks of June, Spanish Barcelona Regal was looking to make a move for the nifty combo guard and had scheduled a post season meeting in Spain with Lotsos. However, later that month, Langford was required to inform Maccabi on whether or not he would extend his contract. With time running out and Barcelona unwilling to make a decision, Langford moved on.
Then, Lotsos received notice from a Spanish area code. Unicaja Malaga representatives were on the other line asking, "What would it take for Keith to wear green next season?"
The mid-level Euroleague team would fail to land Langford and after negotiating with most of the Turkish Euroleague teams, in addition to Italian Armani Milano, Langford verbally committed to Fenerbahce Ulker last week.
Here comes the turning point.
Langford's people called Milano's General Manager Gianluca Pascucci and had thanked him for their offer, adding that they were going in a different direction. The thought of reuniting head coach Sergio Scariolo and Langford wasn't one the Italians were willing the pass out on. According to team sources, "Milano offered Langford almost $500,000 more than their final proposal."
"We believed Keith was going to end up in Turkey," sources with information of the player's deal said. "His decision came down to one of those two teams being the best fit, and he was going to go to Turkey. Fenerbahce made it a difficult choice but it was a last second mind changing decision and Milano made the deal much sweeter," added the source.
After signing his multi-year, $3.2 million contract, Langford had coach Scariolo's cellular number locked into his phone and reached out to the Italian. "I didnt talk to coach Scariolo until after I signed the paperwork on Saturday. I called him and said 'let's get going," he said.
Along with newly acquired Richard Hendrix, Langford hopes "Malik (Hairston) stays," and "Builds a team that is ready to compete for the Euroleague final four."
Langford will arrive in Milan, Italy, sometime within the next week for physical evaluations.
Pasta Reggia JuveCaserta (Serie A) inked 29-year old American swingman Josh Bostic (196-104kg-87, college: Findlay, OH). He played most recently at VEF Riga in Latvian LBL league. In 20 games he averaged 13.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.8apg and 1.4spg last season. Bostic helped them to make it to the final. A very good season in his career as he was selected to Eurobasket.com All-Latvian League Honorable Mention. Bostic also played 10 games in VTB United League where he had 12.8ppg, 5.4rpg and 3.0apg.... [read more]
Pasta Reggia JuveCaserta (Serie A) inked 29-year old American swingman Josh Bostic (196-104kg-87, college: Findlay, OH). He played most recently at VEF Riga in Latvian LBL league. In 20 games he averaged 13.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.8apg and 1.4spg last season. Bostic helped them to make it to the final. A very good season in his career as he was selected to Eurobasket.com All-Latvian League Honorable Mention. Bostic also played 10 games in VTB United League where he had 12.8ppg, 5.4rpg and 3.0apg. The most of previous (2014-15) season Bostic spent at Spirou Charleroi (Scooore League) in Belgium. In 22 games he recorded 11.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.4apg and 1.6spg (in top 5). The other team Bostic played that season for was another team Drive in U.S. semi-pro league D-League. In 15 games he got 6.7ppg, 3.3rpg and 1.4apg. He contributed to his team making it to the semifinals. It was a very successful season in his career as he was selected to Eurobasket.com Belgian League All-Imports Team and 2nd Team. In 2010 (a year after he left the college) New Mexico Thunderbirds selected him as second overall pick in D-League draft. He graduated his college in 2009 andis in his eighth season in pro basketball. Among other achievements Bostic won NCAA D2 championship title in 2009. He received also NCAA D2 Player of the Year (by Division II Bulletin) award back in 2009 at his college time. Bostic is a very experienced player. He has quite traveled the world as his pro career brought him to six different countries on three different continents (Europe, Asia and of course North America). Bostic has played previously professionally in France (Chalon/Saor), Japan (Kyoto Hannaryz), Russia (Spartak St.Petersburg), NBA (Golden State Warriors), Belgium (Belfius Mons-Hainaut and Liege Basket) and D-League (N.Mexico T.).
Scandone Avellino played his first preseason game against Bryant University (NCAA Division 1). Without Retin Obasohan (185-G-93, college: Alabama) (who is with Belgium national team) and Kyrylo Fesenko (216-C-86) (who is with Ukraine national team), Avellino made a good impression in front of their fans. Avellino played with 12 players rotation: Andrea Zerini (205-F-88, agency: Octagon Europe), Joe Ragland (182-PG-89, college: Wichita St.), Marques Green (165-PG-82, college: St.Bonaventu... [read more]
Scandone Avellino played his first preseason game against Bryant University (NCAA Division 1).
They started very slowly and they lost first quarter 16-17. Then Avellino improved their plays and they made the break to close first half 39-31. In second half they improved the rhythm and they took a big advantage closing 66-42 after first 10 minutes and 83-53 at the end.
Nemanja Bezbradica is a newcomer at VL Pesaro - 4 hours ago
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Consultinvest VL Pesaro (Serie A) strengthened their roster with addition of 23-year old Serbian power forward Nemanja Bezbradica (206-93) from Openjobmetis Varese. Bezbradica also spent pre-season at Zrinjski in Division I that year where in four games he recorded 13.5ppg, 8.3rpg and 1.3bpg last season. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he won Serbian League championship title in 2014. Bezbradica was also voted Eurobasket.com All-European Championships U16 3... [read more]
Consultinvest VL Pesaro (Serie A) strengthened their roster with addition of 23-year old Serbian power forward Nemanja Bezbradica (206-93) from Openjobmetis Varese. Bezbradica also spent pre-season at Zrinjski in Division I that year where in four games he recorded 13.5ppg, 8.3rpg and 1.3bpg last season. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he won Serbian League championship title in 2014. Bezbradica was also voted Eurobasket.com All-European Championships U16 3rd Team back in 2009. He represented Serbia at the European Championships U20 in Tallinn (Estonia) three years ago. His stats at that event were 5 games: 8.8ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.4%. Bezbradica has played also professionally for other Serbian teams like Partizan, BKK Radnicki, OKK Beograd and FMP II Beograd.
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