Credit: Zuma Press, USA Today Sports, AFP - Scanpix | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas
Credit Zuma Press, USA Today Sports, AFP - Scanpix | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas

In the last few weeks, there have been several interesting transfers moves around Europe, between Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, EuroCup, and Basketball Champions League.

3-pointers this season

34%
8,5
Points made: 8,5
Accuracy: 34,3%
Place in standings: 9
Record max: 12
Record min: 5
Most made 3FGs: Will Clyburn

Some of them might not move the needle, but others involve players that might create some upside to their teams.

So we decided to dig into some of these moves in this roundup to give you a full picture of what’s happening around European basketball recently. 

EuroLeague

In EuroLeague, we had two major moves that created some noise. Last week, CSKA Moscow announced the signing of Kenneth Faried, and the day after, Panathinaikos officially signed Yogi Ferrell. Two players with major NBA experience. Faried played 478 games in his NBA career, while Ferrell played 259. 

For CSKA, the addition of Faried arrived mainly to cover the absence of Nikola Milutinov, who suffered a knee injury in CSKA’s EuroLeague debut against Olimpia Milan.

The American big man signed a two-month deal with an option to extend the contract for the remainder of the season.

Faried had recently played in Puerto Rico, but his deal with Leones de Ponce included outs for both the NBA and the EuroLeague. 

The last couple of seasons weren’t exactly easy for Faried. He couldn’t find any team in the NBA, so he signed in China in the 2019-2020 season but played there only for a couple of months and then remained out for most of the 2020-2021 season.

During the summer, he played for the Trail Blazers in the Las Vegas Summer League. He looked in good shape physically, but he couldn’t and a deal for the training camp.

He might have lost some of the explosiveness of his golden days in Denver, but his level of activity on the court remains something that catches the eye.

Panathinaikos was looking for a point guard for a while now, they saved part of their offseason budget to wait for the NBA market to unfold and see what kind of players they would have been able to attract.

The negotiations to sign Yogi Ferrell were not easy, and the first attempts to approach the player were rebuffed, sources told Basketnews.

But when the player failed to land any training camp deal, Panathinaikos made another run at him. This time, Ferrell and his entourage were more willing to make business, and the two sides agreed to a deal for the remainder of the season, which includes an NBA out, a source told Basketnews. 

Ferrell had spent the final part of last season with the LA Clippers, first with a 10-day contract and then signing a multi-year partially guaranteed deal with the team. During the offseason, though, the Clippers decided to cut Ferrell and make him a free agent.

While he was also linked to other European teams, including Virtus Bologna, multiple sources denied to Basketnews that Ferrell was in deep talks with other clubs before securing the deal with Panathinaikos. 

The Greek club saw both Kendrick Perry and Daryl Macon struggle a bit in the first few weeks of the season, so they hope that Ferrell will provide more firepower and playmaking in the backcourt.

It remains very important for Panathinaikos to find other contributors offensively aside from Papapetrou and Nedovic.

Maccabi Tel Aviv was forced to get back into the market to cover the absence of Ante Zizic, who was sidelined to a knee injury. The Israeli powerhouse struck a deal with French big man Mathias Lessort, who was still a free agent after winning the EuroCup last season with Monaco.

Lessort signed a short-term deal with an option to extend the contract for the rest of the season. The French big man worked individually for most of the season while waiting to resolve his situation for the next season.

It probably took more time than expected, but other factors were involved in the situation, including the change of representation. Lessort left BeoBasket, the agency owned by Misko Raznatovic, and joined Octagon, which took some time to be completely done.

The big man had a great debut in EuroLeague, finishing with 16 points and 4 rebounds in the game against Crvena Zvezda, which ended up in a loss for the Israeli team.

Lessort will definitely be a reliable addition for Maccabi while they wait for Zizic to return from the injury and the chances of a possible extension until the end of the season are already high, a source told Basketnews. 

EuroCup

Virtus Bologna, once again, monopolized most of the attention on the market as they made other two important additions to their roster.

On paper, both of these players are replacements for the guys who went down to injuries, but when we consider their quality, it’s clear that they both have the quality to become key contributors to the team.

JaKarr Sampson, the former Indiana Pacers forward, has already made his debut with the club and scored 17 points in 17 minutes, looking already comfortable in the Virtus system.

An athletic forward with size and great defensive skills, Sampson and his energetic skillset looks like a perfect fit for the team coached by Sergio Scariolo. In the European environment, Sampson will be able to cover minutes as a center, too, filling the hole left by the injury of Ekpe Udoh.

The other main addition that Virtus made recently was represented by French swingman Isaia Cordinier.

This one, compared to Sampson, was a little bit more complicated. Cordinier was coveted by several EuroLeague and EuroCup teams in the past few months, but the player prioritized the NBA market.

The Nets owned his NBA rights, who had shown some interest in bringing the player to the USA, but after a couple of workouts with the team, the two sides decided that it was not possible to work together. The Nets decided not to extend the tender offer to Cordinier, making him an unrestricted free agent on the NBA market.

But at that point, the NBA market was very limited, with most of the training camp spots already filled around the league. So, Cordinier and his entourage started to field interest from European clubs again. 

Virtus were frontrunners from the start of the negotiations with their two-year offer on the table, which also included an NBA out for next summer.

Furthermore, Cordinier will be able to walk out of the deal for free if Virtus wouldn't secure a EuroLeague spot for next season. Other teams also showed interest in the situation, including CSKA Moscow and Baskonia, a source told Basketnews.

But the Italian side remained convinced that their offer was the most attractive for the player.

Cordinier, in the end, decided to join Virtus and their ambitious project, also attracted by the possibility of playing again in the EuroCup, a competition where he thrived last season, being nominated in the All-EuroCup first team after his great performances with French side Nanterre 92.

Among the other most notable additions recently in EuroCup, Andorra signed veteran Israeli point guard Gal Mekel, who remains in Spain after playing with Unicaja Malaga last season.

The player will provide some help in the backcourt for the club that had a bad start in ACB with just one win in five games.

Basketball Champions League

In the FIBA’sBA’s competition, it was Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who stole most of the attention.

Turkish side Besiktas was able to sign the former Nets forward to a one-year deal with an NBA out included in the contract.

In the first game of the BCL, Hollis-Jefferson immediately showed his potential as an all-around player, finishing with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

While it remains unclear how long Hollis-Jefferson is going to stay (the NBA out is valid for the entire season, according to a source, there’s no doubt that he can be a key factor for Besiktas during his time in Turkey. 

Another Turkish team added a very familiar face of European basketball recently. Pinar Karsiyaka signed veteran swingman Michael Roll, who spent the past two seasons with Olimpia Milan.

The player already showed solid performances in the first two games of the BCL season and will provide shooting and solid defense on the perimeter for the Turkish club, which already looks like one of the contenders for the title.

Among the other recent additions in the competition, AEK signed veteran power forward Ian Hummer, who was coming from a season in Turkey with Petkim Spor.

Meanwhile, Strasbourg signed veteran swingman Tony Crocker, who played in Australia last season, to cover the absence of Jarrell Eddwho’llo’ll be sidelined for at least two months due to a back injury.

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Yogi Ferrell

Yogi  Ferrell
Team: Panathinaikos Athens
Position: SG
Age: 28
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Birth place: United States of America