Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
All Tornike Shengelia wanted was an opportunity with the Nets. Once he got one, he made the most of it and is now a part of the move to Brooklyn.
Shengelia, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward who was an afterthought on draft night just two and a half weeks ago, has reportedly agreed to terms with the Nets on a two-year contract for approximately $500,000 per season.
The agreement between the Nets and Shengelia was first reported by the New York Post.
The Nets will also shell out an equal amount in luxury tax payments, as well as picking up Shengelia’s buyout from Belgian Ethias League finalist Spirou Charleroi, which is reportedly $300,000. NBA teams are allowed to contribute up to $550,000 towards the buyout of an international player.
In a draft that was considered weak in terms of international prospects, Shengelia was selected 54th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers and was immediately traded to the Brooklyn Nets for cash.
General Manager Billy King all but said on draft night that he had no intention of bringing the Republic of Georgia native to the United States right away. At that point, Shengelia and his agent, Guy Zucker, convinced King to give him a shot with the Nets summer league team.
Shengelia had several strong practices with the summer league roster in early July just days after arriving in the United States for the first time. Once at the Orlando Summer League last week, the 20-year-old continued to impress, averaging 10.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and shooting 53 percent from the field in five games, including 17 points and six rebounds against the Sixers on July 11.
“He’s been one of the stars of our camp, arguably one of the top three guys of this camp,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said after a Nets summer league practice on July 7. “If he can be a 6-8 3-guard with his athleticism, with the way he can shoot the ball, with the way he can come off screens and the way he can pass, that increases his stock.”
Still considered raw and a bit of a project, Shengelia averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 boards in 29 games for Charleroi in 2011-12. In 12 Euroleague games with Charleroi, Shengelia averaged 7.6 points per game.
He is currently with the Georgian National Team preparing for the EuroBasket Qualifying Tournament, which is scheduled to begin August 15 in Slovenia.
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