By Chris Sheridan
KAUNAS, Lithuania — Bostjan Nachbar indeed wants to get back into the NBA, and don’t be surprised if he ends up in one of three places: New Jersey, Toronto or Detroit.
Nachbar, who has been working out for two weeks after having surgery to remove loose cartilage from his ankle, arrived Tuesday in this quaint Lithuanian city to provide color commentary for Slovenian television as his homeland plays in the quarterfinals. He has spent the past three years playing in Russia and Turkey, and there are currently several offers from European teams on the table.
But Nachbar wants to see how the NBA lockout plays out before making any kind of commitment, and the 31-year-old would ideally like to spend two or three years in the NBA.
“I really don’t have a preference for a certain team, but there definitely are situations that are appealing,” Nachbar told SheridanHoops.com.
Among them are the Nets, because Nachbar was a member of that organization when the franchise was first planning its move to Brooklyn, and as he put it: “That is going to be a really big thing.” He also still maintains an apartment in New Jersey.
Nachbar also spoke fondly of former Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who is now the head coach of the Detroit Pistons, and said he enjoyed the way Frank related to and connected with his players in such a non-dictatorial fashion.
Another team that has long been on his radar is the Toronto Raptors, whose assistant general manager, Maurizio Gherardini, was a mentor to Nachbar when he started his career with Benetton Treviso in 2000 as a 20-year-old — which at the time made him the youngest player in the Italian League.
Nachbar spent 2002-2008 in the NBA with the Rockets, Hornets and Nets, then signed overseas with Dynamo Moscow, where he played under current Russian national team coach David Blatt — a tactician whose coaching style he described as “non-European” and which he compared to that of Frank.
He spent the past two seasons playing out of position at power forward for Efes Pilsen in Turkey, and his ankle injury prevented him from playing for Slovenia at EuroBasket.
Nachbar’s best NBA season was in 2006-07, when he shot 42 percent and averaged 9.2 points as the Sixth Man for the Nets. He expects to be back in playing shape by the beginning of October when NBA training camps are scheduled to begin if the league’s work stoppage is settled by then. Negotiations to end the lockout resumed Wednesday in New York but went poorly.