Mike James, a star in Moscow, CSKA and Europe, has become one of the last in line in Brooklyn, the Nets and the NBA. The paradoxes and contractual entanglements of many players who move between two waters, between Europe and the United States, have finally allowed James to debut with the Nets, leader of the Eastern Conference and one of the strongest candidates for the NBA title this season, with a ten-day contract.
The Brooklyn team, plagued by injuries to guards and guards James Harden, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza, signed James, 30, and 1.85 meters, after he struck a deal with CSKA. Moscow who freed him from his commitment this season and allowed him to go to the NBA. Details of that deal have not been released, but the player’s commitment to the Russian team does not end until 2023. James renewed with CSKA last summer and is one of the highest paid players in Europe with 2.5 million annual dollars, two million euros.
The Portland-born player’s poor relations with Moscow’s Greek coach Dimitris Iotudis led to his removal from the team a month ago. James was followed by various NBA teams. It is one of the most prominent bases in recent years in Europe. He was the top scorer in the Euroleague in 2019 with an average of almost 20 points, similar to the one he maintained this season in which only Russian Alexey Shved surpassed him, and he was also the second player with the best valuation, behind Nikola Mirotic .
The reasons for James’s disagreement with Iotudis have not been revealed, although the coach criticized the behavior and attitude of the point guard. “I have decided to go to war with the players and coaches who want to go to war with this team,” he said. “We want players who respect each other, who put the team above their interests and who represent the values of this club. If we want to be champions, we have to be champions in everything, and be an example for our fans and for the children ”.
James, after making his debut with the Nets on Friday and adding eight points, two rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes in the 109-104 win over the Celtics, spoke about the shadows that obscure his brilliant career in Europe because his problems with CSKA coach inevitably remember those he had with Ettore Messina and who led to his departure from Armani Milan in July 2019: “Messina accepted the coaching position in Milan, we talked on the phone all summer and one day he sent me an email and said that I should find another team, ”explained James. “And with Itoudis, some things happened in my personal life and I felt like things didn’t turn out the way I thought they should. I had a little personal confrontation with Itoudis off the basketball court. “
Mike James is one of the many American players who, despite standing out with the University, in his case Lamar, Texas, had to start his professional career in Europe. He started with KK Zagreb and just four months later signed for Israeli Hapel Galil Elyon, a first change in the middle of the season that heralded constant traffic throughout his career. He played for Omegna, in Serie B Italy, with Greek Kolosos Rodas for a few months before being signed by Baskonia in December 2014, in 2016 he joined Panathinaikos, won the League and was voted the Most Spectacular Player of the championship. Greek. A year later he made his NBA debut with the Phoenix Suns. After playing 36 games with the Arizona team, he played four games with New Orleans. After that short stage, he returned to Panathinaikos and in 2018 he signed for Armani Milan.
In 2017 James became the first NBA player to sign a contract with the possibility of playing on two teams, Phoenix Suns and its affiliate in the G League, Northern Arizona, although he never played an official game with this team.