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The Nuggets, who retain rights to the former Virginia Tech player, asked him to spend a season developing abroad.
The Roanoke Times | File January
Former Virginia Tech point guard Erick Green plans to play the upcoming season in Italy.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Erick Green is heading overseas.
The former Virginia Tech point guard said Tuesday he has agreed to sign a one-year contract with a basketball team in Siena, Italy.
The Utah Jazz chose Green in the second round of last month’s NBA draft on behalf of the Denver Nuggets, who then acquired the point guard’s rights in a trade with Utah that same night.
Green said it was the Nuggets’ decision to have him play overseas for a year. The Nuggets suggested several teams, including the one that Green picked. Montepaschi Siena is a power in the Italian League and also plays in the Euroleague.
He will play for Montepaschi Siena in the upcoming 2013-14 season, but the Nuggets — who had yet to sign Green — will retain his rights for the subsequent 2014-15 season.
“[The Nuggets] really want me, they’re really interested in me, but they felt like I need a year to develop, get stronger and learn this game,” Green said in a phone interview from his family’s Winchester home.
Last week, the Nuggets added free-agent point guard Nate Robinson. He played for Chicago last season, which was his eighth year in the league. The addition of Robinson prompted Denver to recommend Green play overseas, said Green.
“They signed Nate Robinson, so instead of me sitting on the bench or playing in the D-League, I can go overseas for a year and … get better, come back next year and get a spot,” Green said. “It’s going to be benefit me a lot.”
Denver, which made the 2013 NBA playoffs, also added veteran off-guard Randy Foye, in a trade earlier this month. Robinson and Foye joined a team that already had starting point guard Tywan Lawson, starting off-guard Evan Fournier and backup point guard Andre Miller.
Green played for Denver in the NBA’s Las Vegas summer league earlier this month, averaging 9.3 points, 1.8 assists and 21.7 minutes in six games. He was 8 of 18 from 3-point range.
Green, who led the nation in scoring as a Virginia Tech senior this year, said he reaped a six-figure contract from his Italian team.
Green, who is looking forward to the food and the shopping in Italy, said he is not discouraged by having to play overseas.
“I’ve still got a chance to play in the [NBA]. I’ve got to do this for one year, get better,” he said. “The NBA’s a different game. There’s some things I need to work on to be able to play at that high level.
“With Nate and Andre Miller [in Denver], I need to be somewhere I can produce.”
Green said he will play for Denver’s team in Las Vegas again next summer.
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