Jan Vesely returned home to the Czech Republic earlier this week, with the NBA lockout forcing him to contemplate his options about where to continue playing basketball. The NBA has hit the pause button — or rather the stop button — on the upcoming season, with the labor impasse moving to a different kind of court after players filed two antitrust complaints against the league.
Vesely, whom the Wizards drafted sixth overall last June, mentioned in a recent telephone interview that he would consider returning to his team the past three years, Partizan Belgrade, if the lockout lasts much longer.
He added that “things look bad” for the NBA before the players’ union elected to disband on Monday and put the entire season in jeopardy. Though Vesely’s NBA career could be delayed much longer, his agent, Alexander Raskovic, said the latest developments haven’t rushed the 6-foot-11 forward into make a decision to return to Serbia.
“Not yet,” Raskovic wrote in an email. “We are studying the situation. We will see.”
Raskovic said Vesely has already started to play pickup games and practice at a high school gym in Prague. They plan to meet next week with Partizan team president and former NBA player Predrag Danilovic to determine “what is the best for [Vesely] to do” for the next month or two.
“We will see in the next seven days,” Raskovic wrote, “and make the Plan B in case” the NBA season is canceled.
If there is no NBA, Raskovic said Vesely would certainly play for a team in Europe for the rest of the season.
“Where? We will see,” he wrote.
Vesely negotiated a tentative buyout agreement last summer with Partizan, but he remains under contract with the team until he can sign with the Wizards, which can’t happen until a new collective bargaining agreement has been ratified. Vesely also cannot work out with any other professional team in Europe without permission from Partizan.
“I stayed in Partizan last year. The reason was to play to get ready for the NBA and go this year, but now I work out and wait for lockout,” Vesely said in a recent telephone interview. “I’m disappointed about lockout.”
Vesely spent a month in Los Angeles working out with trainer Rob McClanaghan and other NBA players. “I focus on my shot, my dribbling, getting in shape, running and the weight room,” Vesely said last month.
Vesely enjoyed the weather in Southern California and mixed in a little fun, but he didn’t come to America to be a tourist. He came to play basketball for the Wizards. “I’ve been chilling, working out, and I’m getting bored with not playing,” he said last week. “I like to play games.”