BARCELONA — Somewhere in Tuscany, DaJuan Summers is negotiating a buyout with Montepaschi Siena after playing only four games.
Between the offers, counter offers and number crunching, I hope both sides can put down their pens long enough to look at each other and ask: What were we thinking?
On the one hand you’ve got Siena, fresh off a Euroleague Final Four appearance as well an Italian Championship, their sixth in as many years. On the other, DaJuan Summers, a 23-year-old whose physical gifts far outweigh any sprinkling of success he’s seen in an uneventful two years with the Detroit Pistons.
However, with the departure of Malik Hairston, Montepaschi needed a scorer; and with the departure of the NBA, DaJuan needed a job. So they ignored the blaring sirens of incompatibility, covered their ears and partnered up.
But when you’re an elite team whose only real need is a shot maker on the perimeter, your big acquisition is supposed to make shots on the perimeter. Instead of encouragement (“You’ll hit the next one, DaJuan!”), it’s an ultimatum (“You better hit the next one, DaJuan.”).
There’s no room for slumps or mental lapses on a club that views losing as a sickness. Once the staff identifies the cause of the infection, they’ll cut it out. Out of the starting lineup, out of the rotation, or out of the team’s plans altogether.
Such was Summers’ fate, and now he’s picking up the pieces of his four-month, four (real) game European career. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears, Summers said he noticed his first “red flag” when the regular season started and his minutes took a dip.
“In the preseason I was playing close to 30 minutes every game,” Summers told Spears. “But when the real games started I was getting 14, 15, 16 minutes. It was weird. I couldn’t understand it.”