Every summer features a flurry of signings as teams from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams rebuild or reinforce their rosters to make a run at the crown. And just like every summer, this one featured top names from several EuroLeague teams switching sides and eager to contribute their experience and talent in new surroundings. Here are the top 10 signings, in alphabetical order, of the 2022 summer among players who switched EuroLeague sides:
Top signings: Within the EuroLeague
Lorenzo Brown, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
Maccabi practically rebuilt its roster from scratch over the summer and one of the most important pieces has been the addition of point guard Lorenzo Brown, who joined from UNICS Kazan of Russia. Last season, Brown ranked second in the EuroLeague in assists with 6.1 per game in 24 appearances. He also tallied 13.8 points and 3.6 rebounds and ranked fourth with 1.5 steals per game. This will be the fourth EuroLeague club in as many seasons for Brown, as he made his competition debut with Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in the 2019-20 season and played for Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in 2020-21. Brown will be one of the key ingredients in a new-look Maccabi for 2022-23, as Coach Oded Kattash looks to lead the storied club back to the top of the table.
Will Clyburn, Anadolu Efes Istanbul
The back-to-back champs surely seem to be looking for the three-peat. Efes maintained most of the group that won the last two titles and had a handful of significant additions in the summer, the biggest of them being swingman Will Clyburn. Clyburn arrives from CSKA Moscow, where he spent the past four seasons. He helped the club win the 2019 EuroLeague as the Final Four MVP. Last season, Clyburn averaged a career-high 14.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists despite coming off the bench in 19 of his 20 appearances. With his return to Turkey, Clyburn will be ready to give Efes that extra oomph that the champs will need to have another go at the title and become the first team to win three straight crowns since the legendary Jugoplastika Split in the early nineties.
Nando De Colo, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
The French legend went back to his roots this summer as ASVEL announced the signing of two-time champ Nando de Colo. He joined ASVEL from Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, where he spent the last three years. Last season saw de Colo average 11.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 21 games. With CSKA Moscow, De Colo won EuroLeague titles in 2016 and 2019 and reached the Final Four five consecutive times, from 2015 to 2019. In 2015-16, he was the EuroLeague MVP, Final Four MVP and the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner. De Colo now returns to France hoping to lift ASVEL to the next level.
Dante Exum, Partizan NIS Belgrade
In its return to the EuroLeague, Partizan tried to build a strong roster to stay with the pack this season, and Dante Exum was probably the biggest addition of them all. Exum arrives from FC Barcelona, where last season he averaged 6.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25 EuroLeague games. Exum joined Barcelona midway through the season and became a driving force in the team that reached the Final Four. Before that, he had six seasons of NBA experience. Partizan fans will surely have a new favorite early in the season when Exum starts contributing for his new team.
Mario Hezonja, Real Madrid
Real has been a team measuring its changes in the last seasons to try to keep its core together. One of the biggest changes this summer has been the arrival of scoring ace Mario Hezonja. He joins Los Blancos from UNICS Kazan, where he averaged 14.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 25 EuroLeague games last season. Hezonja ranked eighth in the EuroLeague in both scoring and rebounding. The 2020-21 season was the Croatian forward's first back in Europe after spending the previous five seasons in the NBA and now he is a member of Europe’s winningest team for a match made in heaven.
Nemanja Nedovic, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Crvena Zvezda made some waves when it announced the homecoming of Nemanja Nedovic, a star guard that grew up in the youth system of the club and made a name for himself on some of the best teams in Europe. Nedovic arrives from Panathinaikos Athens, where he averaged 14.3 points (seventh best overall) and 3.2 assists in 26 EuroLeague games last season, his second with the Greens. Nedovic also played in the NBA and in Europe for EA7 Emporia Armani Milan, Unicaja Malaga (with which he won the 2017 7DAYS EuroCup title), and Rytas Vilnius among others. Now, Nedovic comes back home to try to help give Zvezda a little push to be among the playoff contenders.
Elie Okobo, AS Monaco
When the 2021-22 season started, Elie Okobo was not well known among many European basketball fans. It just took him a couple of months to make sure nobody would forget his name. Okobo arrives from LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, where he averaged 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 27 games. He was the sixth-highest scorer last season in terms of points per game in the EuroLeague. Now, Okobo has switched sides to Monaco, a team that also made its EuroLeague debut last season, and which has put together a new, fearsome group that will try to, at least, match the playoff success from the last campaign and Okobo will surely be expected to play an important part in that.
Jan Vesely, FC Barcelona
Sometimes, the mere uttering of a name makes everyone understand it all. Such is the case with Jan Vesely, one of the most decorated EuroLeague players of the last decade, who left Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul after many years there to join a perennial title contender, looking for a project that will finally allow it to lift the title. Vesely played a key role as Fenerbahce reached four consecutive Final Fours from 2015 to 2018 and became the first Turkish team to win the EuroLeague in 2017. Last season, Vesely averaged a career-high 13.6 points on 63.1% two-point shooting, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 22 games. He was named the 2018-19 EuroLeague MVP and chosen to the All-EuroLeague First Team in the 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns. Vesely is a veteran now, but his experience and talent could provide Barca with the key piece it was missing.
Scottie Wilbekin, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Scottie Wilbekin returns to Turkey to join forces with Fenerbahce to help the Turkish powerhouse get back to the top. Wilbekin arrives from Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, where he spent the past five seasons. He ranked fifth in the league in scoring last season with 15.4 points per game and led all players with 2.6 three-pointers per game. No player has made more threes in the EuroLeague since 2016 than Wilbekin’s 395. He previously played in Istanbul for Darussafaka, the team he led to the 2018 7DAYS EuroCup crown. Now, Wilbekin returns to that city to try to help Fenerbahce regain its status as Turkish king after several seasons of Efes dominance.
Ante Zizic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul
In its quest for a three-peat, Efes was active during the summer to bring in a few key players. Another one of them was Ante Zizic, a big man who has been making waves in the league of late. Zizic arrives from Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, where he averaged 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 31 EuroLeague games last season, his third in the competition. Zizic ranked third in the league in performance index rating on a per-minute basis at 29.5 per 40 minutes. He is just 25 and he is already in the prime of his career. Zizic returns to Turkey after having made his EuroLeague debut with Darussafaka in 2016 and is expected to be an important piece in the new and improved Anadolu Efes.