After a very good regular season, Barcelona lost both the EuroLeague and the ACB League trophy and the management of the team decided to reshape the roster again.
The contracts of Rolands Smits, Nigel Hayes-Davis and Brandon Davies expired at the end of June and Barca did not wish to keep any of them. As it was rumoured even before the season ended, Brandon Davies signed with Olimpia Milan (the fact that it was known almost for sure that he will leave the team might be a reason why Davies played poorly at the end of the season). Valencia and Baskonia wanted Rolands Smits, but the Latvian power forward eventually chose to leave Spain and join another EuroLeague team, Zalgiris Kaunas. To fill the void under the basket left by the departures of Davies and Smits, Barca signed former EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely. The high-flying Czech had some issues with injuries in the past few years, but if he stays healthy he is a big improvement for Barca’s frontcourt. As for replacing Hayes-Davis, the Blaugrana squad sent an offer to sign Nikola Kalinic. Valencia has the rights to the Serbian player, but if they cannot match Barca’s offer until July 7th, the player will sign with the team coached by Sarunas Jasikevicius.
Another player that is rumoured to leave is the starting point guard from last season, Nick Calathes (potential destinations are Fenerbahce, Maccabi, and Panathinaikos). Calathes is an excellent passer and playmaker who also has size but limitations, mainly his poor shooting. A sign that Calathes will leave the team is the arrival of Tomas Satoransky. The Czech player returned to Catalunya 6 years after leaving Barca to play in the NBA. Just like Calathes he is a tall point guard, but more athletic and a better shooter. The future of Cory Higgins is also unknown at the moment. The American guard might also leave Barca and there would be many teams interested, but there is nothing sure in his case for now.
Even if there are reports that Barca will have a decreased budget for next season because of the difficult financial situation of the club, the signings they made so far look very good and at least on paper the team looks much improved compared to last season. The pressure will also be very high on the team and on coach Jasikevicius. After two failed attempts to win the EuroLeague and after losing the Spanish League title last month against rivals Real Madrid, Barca has to win next season.
Image credit: FC Barcelona