San Antonio Spurs 2011 draftee Adam Hanga's future in Europe has been up in the air since his season ended. His contract with Assigna Manressa is up and Hanga won't be re-signing with the team. It looks like Hanga has found a new team and the name of that team is one Spurs fans are familiar with, whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen.
According to European sports site Kirolmania, Hanga is set to sign a four year deal with Saski Baskonia in the Spanish ACB League. I spoke with Hanga's agent, Giorgos Dimitropoulos, late last week and he said the deal isn't done yet but there's a good possibility it happens. Hanga just finished a fantastic season with Manresa, showing real improvement in his game. The 6'7" Hungarian swingman finished the season averaging 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. The end of his season was strong as well, as he picked up a league MVP of the week award in late April.
Terms of Hanga's deal haven't been made known, nor has any NBA buyout terms. Baskonia might not sound familiar to a lot of fans, but it's former name, Tau Ceramica, and current sponsor Caja Laboral, should ring a bell for Spurs fans. This is the same team that used to employ Tiago Splitter, Fabricio Oberto and most notoriously, Luis Scola. You'll remember the Spurs had a hell of a time negotiating Scola's buyout with the team, eventually leading to his trade to the Houston Rockets.
The negotiations for Splitter and Oberto were less acrimonious and less costly than Scola's. While Hanga is looking more and more like an NBA talent, he's not on the level of Scola or Splitter before both came over. It's unlikely his buyout would be nearly as problematic. The bigger question for Spurs fans is when will we see Hanga in San Antonio? Probably not for at least a couple of years. Hanga would be 26 at the time, the same age as Manu Ginobili his rookie year with the Spurs.
This is a good thing for Hanga. He gets to go to one of the top handful of teams in Europe and continue to get better. Signing a four year deal, if the report is right, means there's no rush to get him here and he keep working on his game. There seems to be this rush to get prospects over stateside to see what they have, regardless of their situation. If guys like Hanga and Davis Bertans are playing against top talent in Europe, there's no need to bring them over until their ready. We're partially to blame. We give as many updates as possible and even call for guys to come over if their situation is a mess (See: Richards, Ryan).
As fans, we could all use a little more patience with our teams. Whether it's expectations of prospects or jumping the gun and calling for Tony Parker to be traded (Seriously, what idiot blogger has done that over and over?!) The point is Adam Hanga looks like he's on the right track to coming stateside and it looks like he'll have ties with two of the best organizations in the world from a development standpoint.
Photo: FCM Basketball