Calathes to return to Europe if second NBA season flops

Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes has said that if his second season in the NBA doesn’t work out for him, he will return to Europe.

Calathes was heavily linked with a move back to Greece with Panathinaikos just after the Euroleague Final Four in May. The 25-year-old was also linked with a switch to Turkey, to play with Anadolu Efes so that he could play extended minutes in Europe. Something he wasn’t getting in the NBA.

The Greek international started just seven of the 71 games he appeared in last season for Memphis as he found it difficult to break into the rotation. Calathes admits that playing time is earned in the NBA and wants one more shot at it.

“It was a lot stressful everything that happened this summer,” Calathes told Greek newspaper Tovima.

“I didn’t know where I was going to play next season. There was a lot of confusion, while my primary agent, the one who got the deal, got a job at the Memphis Grizzlies as a GM and then he got fired, so I didn’t know if I had a second year. At the same time, my agent was talking with European teams, but at the end the Grizzlies decided to keep me. So I am going back and I will do my best to find a better contract, next season. If I don’t make it, I’ll go back to Europe.”

Calathes enjoyed three years with Panathinaikos, where he won two Greek titles and a Euroleague crown in 2011. He went to Lokomotiv Kuban in the summer of 2012 and won the Eurocup in his only season in Russia before his move to the States.

He has played 41 games for the Greek national team, averaging 6.7 points. He is expected to play at the FIBA World Cup later this month, but is likely to miss the first two games as he is currently suspended for four months from FIBA competition for violating both NBA and FIBA anti-doping programs. Calathes will be reinstated on August 14 but will train after that period.

I was shocked,” he recalls. “I could not believe it. They call me from the lab of the NBA and they told my they found an illegal substance. Never in my life [have] I got anything, to help me play basketball. Actually, I am against that. First, I talked with my wife, then with my father, but still I could not believe it.

“When I apologized to FIBA, I was honest. I admit I made the mistake to use something without knowing what was in it and I had to say that to my team, but I didn’t. They appreciated my honesty.”

Greece are in Group B of the World Cup, joined with Argentina, Croatia, Senegal, Philippines and Puerto Rico.