Ben McLemore, who was selected with the No.7 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, has signed a one-year deal with AEK.

Credit: Reuters - Scanpix
Credit Reuters - Scanpix

AEK Athens made an impressive move Sunday, when they announced the signing of former NBA first-round pick Ben McLemore.

The American shooting guard signed a one-year deal with the Greek side and is slated to make his European and BCL debut. 

The Kansas graduate was selected with the 7th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings and after a highly successful rookie season, he went on to pen a new three-year contract. In Sacramento, McLemore averaged 9.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists in 73 games.

In the 2017-2018 season he moved to the Memphis Grizzlies, being a constant part of the rotation and averaging 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists. The following season saw him return to the Kings, before spending two seasons with the Houston Rockets. In Texas, he averaged 8.7 points and 2.2 rebounds over 103 games.

At the end of the 2020-2021 season, the experienced guard played in 21 games with the Los Angeles Lakers, producing 8 points, 1.6 rebounds per night. 

In his final NBA season (2021-2022), McLemore played with the Portland Trail Blazers, recording 10.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, per outing in 64 games. Overall, he tallied a total of 556 regular season games with 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assist on average, going 36% from distance. 

He spent last season in China and the Shandong Hi-Speed Kirin. 

McLemore is the third non-Greek player to join AEK this season, following high-profile signings Jordan McRae, a five-year NBA veteran, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who played 69 NBA games with the New York Knicks between 2016 and 2017.

At the same time, AEK, who made the BCL quarter-finals last season before finishing in 6th place in the Greek league, is heading into the club's 100th anniversary with two major issues to resolve.

The first is the ever-increasing transfer bans, imposed by FIBA on the club, that amount to 17 as of August 6. At the beginning of the 2022-23 season, AEK were cleared, but due to the delay of installments, outstanding debts seem to be accumulating again. 

The second problem is the fact that they'll be playing all their BCL home games with a reduced capacity that won't exceed 20%. On July 24, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decided to ease up the BCL's judge's decision to close the Ano Liosia Olympic Hall for the entire season due to serious incidents that took place during a game vs. Hapoel Jerusalem.

That means that the closure now amounts to 80% and that AEK is forced to make only nominative season tickets available to its fans. 

The fine of €50,000 imposed by the First Instance Judge has been maintained.


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