Aleksandar Vezenkov, the Nets 6’9” Euro-stash, told Bulgarian media last week that the Nets suggested that he could play for Brooklyn as soon as next season. Since he was taken at No. 57 in the June draft, the presumption has been that the 22-year-old would wait till the end of his contract with F.C. Barcelona in 2019 before he made the move to the NBA.
“They say to me, they want me to stay a year in Europe, then we will see,” Vezenkov told Diema Sport, adding that “The most important thing is to be healthy.”
Vezenkov plays power forward for Barcelona as well as the Bulgarian national team, but he’s more likely to play small forward or stretch 4 in the NBA. Sean Marks, who personally scouted Vezenko last spring in Spain, called him an “elite shooter” on Draft Night.
But Vezenkov was clear, as he has been in the past, that this year is about playing well for Barcelona in both the Euroleague and the ACB, Spain’s highly regarded national league. He did say that he is training for the NBA and knows he has to develop his game as well as his body.
“I work a lot in the gym, the physical training, I want to improve myself. I'm still 22, I want to develop, I work every day on absolutely everything. I need more strength, speed, basketball qualities, but I work...
“Anyone who touches an orange ball, his goal is the NBA. I hope to play one day, too.”
In the interview, Vezenkov also recounted how he learned about being drafted. He and Georgi Davidov, a teammate on the Bulgarian national team, were in the U.S. watching the draft.
“I can not say that we expected something higher, but with four or five picks left, I told (Davidov) I would try the harder way because I lost some faith,” he said referring to making the NBA as an undrafted player. “But then at No. 57, Brooklyn chose me. They will give me a chance to show if I can or cannot.”
This is the second year of his three-year deal with Barcelona. According to one report, he made $300,000 last season ... and won’t make that much more this season.