Finding a starting point guard in the middle of the season isn’t easy. Especially if your days in the Euroleague are numbered. That’s the reality that Zalgiris had to face after letting go Mantas Kalnietis to EA7 Emporio Armani.
Despite being freed from Kalnietis’s contract for remainder of the season plus getting a buy-out from Milan, the Greens faced serious challenge finding the right fit for the vacant starting point guard position. Extra money didn’t help much.
The team’s true point guards Lukas Lekavicius and Kaspars Vecvagars had the chance to get more minutes on court but the game was often stalling. Three +30 blow-out losses in Euroleague Top 16 clearly indicated that Zalgiris needed a boost to least avoid humiliating defeats.
It is reporated that the players that Zalgiris was considering were only interested in deal that would let them leave the team at the end of Top 16. Which is not what the club wanted with coming LKL finals in mind.
After failing to reach agreements with several European-based targets, Zalgiris even tried to bring Daniel Ewing of fellow LKL side Neptunas. However, the teams’ view of adequate buy-out for the 32-year-old veteran were too far apart.
Zalgiris’s goal was to bring new point guard before King Mindaugas Cup (formerly LKF Cup) which will take place this weekend might just be met. According to Lithuanian media, Jerome Randle of Australian side Adelaide 36ers is set to join the Greens.
The player himself revealed on Twitter that he is leaving Australia which caused speculations about his future:
Last game 4 me in the @NBL this year….want to thank all the fans for support and want to give respect to all the players for a good year 👍
— jerome randle (@jerome_randle) February 14, 2016
Randle is the top scorer of the NBL (Australian basketball league) with 23 points per game and is a front-runner for the NBL MVP award. He also dishes 5.17 assists pergame. The 28-year-old American guard also holds Ukrainian passport and is a member of Ukraine national team.
Randle’s ability to produce points himself as well as to find his teammates on the court is surely the traits that head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius expects from his starting point guard.
If Randle joins Zalgiris, he’d become the second import from the NBL on the current roster. Brock Motum being the other. Despite impressive stats in the NBL, Motum has so far failed to impressed and often receives criticism. Unlike Motum, Randle has played in Europe for several years. However, never in a Euroleague team.
Randle’s agent Daniel Moldovan confirmed on Twitter that his client joined Zalgiris for remainder of the season:
— Daniel Moldovan (@AgentMoldovan) February 17, 2016