According to the Sporting News, Philadelphia 76ers 1st round pick Nikola Vucevic is close to signing with a professional team in Montenegro.
Vucevic, drafted 16th overall in this year’s draft is said to be close to a deal that should be final sometime this week. Of course, like most NBA players headed overseas there is an out-clause in Vucevic’s deal allowing him to return to the NBA once the lockout ends. It will be a homecoming for Vucevic, who is from Montenegro.
When Vucevic signs, he’ll become the first 2011 NBA 1st round pick to sign overseas. The 76ers 2nd round pick Lavoy Allen, out of Temple, became the first 2011 NBA 2nd round draft pick to sign overseas when he signed with SIG Strasbourg in France back in July.
Going overseas for draft picks can be a double-edged sword. On one hand they aren’t getting paid during the lockout and there is money readily available overseas, on the other they risk their NBA careers if injured playing overseas. This is why we haven’t seen a lot of draft picks head overseas, yet. However, Vucevic could certainly become the blue-print for others when it comes to ironing out the insurance issues for a guy whose NBA value isn’t yet known. The trend has been set with 2nd round picks, as of right now five 2011 NBA 2nd round picks have signed overseas with more likely to come. Once Vucevic signs, you could see a few more 1st rounders heading overseas especially those drafted after Vucevic.