Free Agency

When a Euroleaguer signs a contract, that smile you see is a cautious facade. His signature resting atop that dotted line is the equivalent of a pair of crossed fingers or a fluffy little rabbit’s foot. Even when measured in dog years, it’s tough to say the average Euroleaguer builds longstanding relationships with ballclubs. Sure you have your lifers—the J.R. Holdens and Felipe Reyeses of our league—but more often than not each game is a campaign for a better, longer and more lucrative contract, and when a deal can pretty much be voided by a jammed pinky or missed free throw, it’d be wise to have a suitcase packed up just to be safe. The beauty in this instability is the parity it creates; champions and bottom dwellers alike are leveled off at zero once the summer rolls around, and if you’ve got an ambitious owner and some extra cash then painful memories of a winless EL season can be washed away with a few phone calls.

Clearly, there’s nothing ‘off’ about the offseason, and it makes no sense for ELA to be dormant during the most critical time of year. With that, I give you The Dotted Line Up, one man’s attempt at ranking all the players who have signed their lives away this summer. Team need, individual abilities, and my own personal grudges will be taken into account somewhat equally. Your opinions, if unretarded, might be also. These rankings reflect expected contributions for the 2009-10 Euroleague season, which is why you’ll find most of our prodigious teenagers near the bottom.

Every time reports a signing I’ll find a spot for him on our master list and the latest results can be found on this page, with the archives just underneath the list. And just because a player is ranked somewhere this week, that doesn’t mean his spot is safe; their staying power is dependent upon other transactions and my moods, neither of which are predictable. It might get pretty long, but after all, that’s what she said so I think we’ll be OK. Check under the new ‘Euroleague’ tab just under the logo and click on ‘Free Agency’ to follow along all summer and season long.

Try and keep up.

Last Updated: August 3, 2011

Rank #colspan#Player #colspan#Team #colspan#He's here because... #colspan#Last DLU #colspan#
1Milos TeodosicCSKA MoscowThe EL's most clean cut franchise adds the Shooting Stoner to a backcourt that just lost a pair of legends in Trajan Langdon and JR Holden. Good thing Milos' brain doesn't process pressure.1
2Ioannis BourousisOlimpia MilanoCan't wait to see him play extended, consistent minutes. The most efficient big in Europe is about to get a big test.2
3Nicolas BatumSLUC NancyBatum alone can't make them a contender, but he can make them watchable. Now it's time to go get some help.4
4Marcelinho HuertasBarcelonaWith Marcelinho in the fold, arca's starting line up looks more like an All-Euroleague team.-
5Jaycee CarrollReal MadridThe two-time ACB scoring champ is ready for his EL debut. He won't be able to sneak up on the Spanish teams anymore, but everyone else: hide your kids, hide your wife.3
6Maciej LampeCaja LaboralEver since he vanished from Maccabi's roster two seasons ago, I've been itching to see him in the EL again. He's primed to explode.5
7Bojan BogdanovicFenerbahçe ÜlkerYou won't find many 26-year-olds as mature as Bojan (still just 22); now it's time to be assertive and create a role for yourself, big guy. As the star.6
8Ersan IlyasovaAnadolu EfesWelcome back to Turkey, my friend. It's not quite the Barcelona team you left a couple seasons ago, but it might be even more stacked.8
9Nenad KrsticCSKA MoscowBoston's trash is CSKA's treasure, as Krstic will add to Moscow's already stellar defensive front of Khryapa, Kaun and now Darjus Lavrinovic.7
10Stanko BaracAnadolu EfesA 24-year-old center who rarely makes mistakes and still has room to grow. Yeah, OK. We'll take him.9
11Esteban BatistaAnadolu EfesIndifferent to pace or pairings, Stevey Bats gets boards as well or better than the rest. If he and Barac can figure each other out, it's lights out for the rest of Turkey.10
12Malik HairstonOlimpia MilanoWith a frontcourt of Bourousis, Radosevic and Fotsis and Omar Cook at the point, all Milano needs to fall in with the elite is a dynamic small forward. Well, damn.11
13D'Or FischerBilbao BasketBizkaia. Bilbao. Basket. Blocks. All start with B's. Weird. But not really.13
14Sasha VujacicAnadolu Efes"Stop telling me and show me, Sasha."

15James GistFenebahçe ÜlkerHis enthusiasm is neither a front nor compensation for a lack of skill. Ülker's no Partizan, fan-wise, but they're getting there. A couple oops from Gist should accelerate that process.14
16Julius JenkinsBrose BasketsAfter two seasons, he's back in the Euroleague where he belongs. Excellent.-
17Dusko SavanovicAnadolu EfesDon't expect another All-EL season from Dusko, but be ready for some big shots in some big moments. And sweat. There will be plenty of sweat.15
18Ben WoodsideUnion OlimpijaPut Davis Bertans on the floor with Woodside and watch the shots fly up. Neither one's what I would call bashful.16
19Acie LawPartizanFor the first time in three seasons, Partizan can build a core around a PG rather than throwing one into the mix once the train's left the station.18
20Luka ZoricUnicajaThis Nesterovic clone was built for the index rating. Spain should be kind to him.17
21Martynas PociusReal MadridExcuse me, I've lost Real Madrid's weakness and was hoping you could help me find it.19
22Martynas GeceviciusOlympiacosThis Olympiacos team is going to look very un-Olymoiacos-y, but they'll have a lot less ego and only a slight shortage of talent and experience.21
23Drew NicholasOlimpia MilanoFormer EL scoring champ came to personify Panathinaikos' consistently unspectacular dominance. Italy's a different story, and we'll see if he still has some 20-point games left in the tank.20
24Kyle HinesOlympiacosThis bull sees Red.-
25Leon RadosevicOlimpia MilanoA bright star in a dimly lit organization last year, now he'll be a key piece in the Italian Renaissance.22
26Henry DomercantUnics KazanThe hefty hoister seems to be right at home in Russia. Now, after five Final Four-less EL seasons and in a starring role, he'll be hungrier than ever.23
27Sonny WeemsZalgirisProps to Sonny for making the leap, and props to Romanov for welcoming the Raptor with open arms. Think Weems has any idea what he's gotten himself into? Not a chance in Hell.24
28Nathan JawaiUnics KazanI hope restaurants stay open late in Kazan. Nathan strikes me as a fourth meal fiend.25
29Pat CalathesPanathinaikosDon't be surprised to see the Calathes Bros account for 40% of the starting line up next year. Pat's a perfect complement to Batiste's bruiser mentality.26
30PJ TuckerBrose BasketsCasey Jacobsen has somebody to do the dirty work for him while he wets things up from outside.28
31Jon ScheyerMaccabi ElectraWith his vision fully restored, the cultural adjustment is all that stands between him and an instant impact.27
32David LightyNGC CantúThe new kids on the block get proactive and pluck one of college's most well-rounded, pro ready swingmen. Me like.29
33Jordan FarmarMaccabi ElectraI'm not so easily enamored by the NBA names if they don't seem to fit.31
34Vlado IlievskiAnadolu EfesThe reigning EL minutes leader will fall into an important back up role behind fellow vet Kerem Tunceri, who's had a history of nagging injuries. Stay ready, Vlado.-
35Tarence KinseyAnadolu EfesAn extremely reliable an oft forgotten scoring threat. He just hangs around, ends up with 12 or 13.30
36Shawn JamesMaccabi ElectraWho needs Serge Ibaka when you've got Shawn James? If you think that's a stretch, check the stats. (OK, so maybe it's still a stretch.)33
37Matt HowardOlympiacosPrintezis, Kyle Hines, Matt Nielsen and he make up one of the tougher forward threesomes in the EL. Interesting change for team not usually renowned for its physicality.34
38Milko BjelicaCaja LaboralThe milk man delivers. Plain and simple.35
39Thomas HuertelCaja LaboralHuertas is out, Huertel is in. Let's hope Thomas can process all of this newly acquired pressure.39
40Milovan RakovicZalgirisTatted up, shaved down and ready to beat your ass.36
41Tremmell DardenUnicajaHe'll be ranked higher if Unicaja asks him to assume the role he had in France last year.-
42Gianluca BasileNGC CantuGather 'round, children. Listen to the old man's stories.-
43Kalin LucasOlympiacosOlympiacos fans won't have any patience with Kalin if he can't remember how to be an elite, efficient PG.-
44Robertas JavtokasZalgirisHe should sell his house and just move into an ice tub to be safe.32
45Marcus SlaughterBrose BasketsIf you watch this man play, his last name starts to makes sense.38
46Federico BolzonelloNGC CantuI guess Mr. Lighty needs somebody to get him the ball. Let's see how it pans out.43
47Marko CakarevicPartizanAfter extending super vets Bozic and Kecman (again), Partizan better hope Cakarevic can provide some bounce on the wing.41
48Aleksander CapinUnion OlimpijaHe needs to calm down and play smart. Neither is his specialty.-
49Raul LopezBilbao BasketThe ACB finalists finally have a new face on the bench, and it's one of experience. It's also one, however, of considerable age and injury.37
50Hakan DemirelFenerbahçe ÜlkerA toned down playmaker who can do a little bit of everything. Always nice to have those guys around.-
51Yogev OhayonMaccabi ElectraHe's playing behind a fat stack of PG's.-
52Ermal KuqoAnadolu EfesYou might not notice him when he's out there, but his opponents will feel him the next day. (Does that sound weird? Yeah, I think it sounds weird.)40
53Jaka BlazicUnion OlimpijaI wish my last name were Blazic. It would make introductions more fun.42