– In Italy, Bucks draft pick Szymon Szewczyk signed a two-year extension with Air Avellino. He ranked second the team in rebounds last year behind Chevon Troutman, was second in points behind Dee Brown, and also managed not to get arrested in a drunken car wreck unlike the other two. Another NBA draft pick signed in Italy, Petteri Koponen, is to remain in Bologna for at least one more season. And ex-NBA player Jumaine Jones is staying with Pepsi Caserta for at least one more season, which really crippled this otherwise infallible post.
– Another ex-NBA draft pick to have signed in Italy is Milovan Rakovic, whose rights are owned by the Magic. Rakovic was one of the best players in the Russian Superleague last year, averaging 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25 minutes per game for Spartak St Petersburg. He’s cashing in on that and moving to Italy to play for Italian powerhouse Montepaschi Siena. There’s lots of upheaval in Russia at the moment; the Superleague teams have all signed a pact vowing to break away from the current governing body, with whom they are thoroughly disenfranchised, and to begin running operations on their own. Amidst this upheaval, many players have left; Spartak also released James White (14.8/3.7) and Goran Suton (played 94 minutes all season). Additionally, UNICS Kazan have released veteran Lithuanian jump shooter Saulius Štombergas, and Lokomotiv Kuban have released their imports James Gist, Andre Owens and Gerald Green. It’s probably fair to say that Green will not be returning to the Dallas Mavericks.
– Not everyone is suffering, though. Khimki have taken advantage of the situation by signing ex-Blazers forward Sergei Monia from cash-strapped rivals Dynamo Moscow, and have also signed ex-Nets guard Zoran Planinic from the other Moscow team, CSKA. CSKA can probably afford to spare Planinic; they have made eight consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours, and danced their way to a Russian Superleague title, going unbeaten throughout the postseason (beating Khimki in the final). It is not immediately official who the two replace in Khimky, but one of the team’s Spanish national team point guards (Raul Lopez and Carlos Cabezas) figures to go, and it will probably be Cabezas.