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New book: Drazen Petrovic planned on European return, then free agency with Celtics

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A new book on Drazen Petrovic, out next week, says he had already planned on a European return when he was killed in a car accident on the German autobahn in June 1993.  In fact, the book said Petrovic, who was then in tense negotiations with the Nets had already decided on a team, Panathinaikos, where he would have played for two years, then return to the NBA ... and the Celtics.

The book, written by two Croatian journalists, is called "Years of the Dragon" or "Godine Zmaja Drazen" and will be available next Wednesday in European bookstores.

Here's how EuroHoops describes the All-NBA star's contract situation at the time of the accident.

Drazen had decided to return to Europe and his first choice was Panathinaikos, even if he had many more offers. He wanted to stay for one or two seasons in Greece and then return to the NBA in order to sign with the Celtics. It’s been said that he had a soft spot for teams which had the shamrock as their emblem, like Panathinaikos, Notre Dame and the Celtics. Fate had other plans for him…

In Greece, he would have been paired with Greek-American Nick Galis, the Seton Hall great who became one of Europe's biggest stars.

The Nets and Petrovic had indeed been wrangling over a new deal with the two sides far apart on money.  Petrovic had formed with Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson a youthful Big Three the Nets had hoped would propel to the upper levels of the NBA.