The Nets have held on to Christian Drejer's draft rights for at least another year. The Nets quietly offered their 2004 second-round draft choice a contract this summer, as required by the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement, and in doing so, retained his rights. The contract apparently was a non-guaranteed contract, the kind offered to training camp invitees. Drejer by then was already under contract to Virtus Bologna and thus could not accept it...even if he wanted to. His Italian League deal is far more lucrative.
Under the CBA, a team can retain its rights to an international player picked in the second round by offering him a contract of any kind--non-guaranteed, partially guaranteed or fully guaranteed. In most cases, both sides know beforehand the player will reject the offer because of European committments and so it is done merely to retain rights.
The 6'-9" Danish shooting guard played poorly for the Nets' entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging only 2 ppg. Since then, he has played well in both the Eurobasket Group A tournament and the Italian League. He averaged 20.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg in the Eurobasket tournament, including a 39- point effort to get Denmark into the 2007 European championships, a first for his native land, and 16.7 ppg in the Italian League, including two 29-point games. Drejer, who ranks No. 10 in scoring in the Italian league, is also in the top 5 in three point shooting (51.9%), free throw shooting (94.1%), points per minute (1.07), and assists per minute (0.13) and ranks No. 16 in the mathmatical formula used to determine the league's best player.
Drejer's current contract with Virtus Bologna is a three-year deal, starting at 450,000 euros per year, or about $530,000. It apparently has two "out's", a buyout after this season and an "NBA opt-out" after next season...the equivalent of a restricted player option. However, he can only opt-out to join an NBA team, not another international team. As recently as this week, Drejer told an Italian newspaper he still wants to play in the NBA.
Normally, a second-round draft choice is paid about $140,000 less than what Drejer is currently making in Italy. Unlike first-round draft choices, there are no restrictions on what a team can pay a second draft choice either in terms of salary or contract length, whether the contract is offered immediately after the draft or years later.
Drejer was drafted #51 in the 2004 draft. None of the players drafted after him are still in the NBA. He is 22 years old. Drejer plays again Sunday at 6 a.m. EST.