When the Nets put together the final pieces of their roster, they signed two of the three rookies they’d drafted — 44th overall pick Markel Brown and 60th pick Cory Jefferson — to partially guaranteed contracts. That left San Diego State product Xavier Thames, who they took with the 59th overall pick, without a contract.
So where does that leave Thames — and his future in the NBA?
The Nets have until September 6th to retain Thames’s rights: all they have to do is tender him an offer. The downside, from the Nets’ perspective: if Thames signs the offer and the Nets don’t want him, they have to waive him, losing his rights and leaving him free to sign with any NBA team.
A similar scenario happened last season with forward Ricky Sanchez: the Miami Heat tendered Sanchez an offer after trading for him, hoping he’d go overseas. But Sanchez signed the offer, and the Heat waived him in camp. Sanchez has never played in the NBA, last playing in the NBA’s developmental league in 2008.
A more likely end result is that the Nets will make Thames an offer just to retain his rights, then hope he ends up overseas.
“Europe is most likely the best option,” one source said.
The draft-and-stash is a common practice for second-round picks. It’s also one that fellow Nets draftee Cory Jefferson flat-out refused, so much so that he may have fallen over 25 spots solely because he wanted to go straight to the NBA. But it could work for Thames if he’s open to at least a season overseas. Thames’s representation did not return a request for comment.
The 6’3″ Thames led San Diego State in scoring in his senior season, averaging 17.6 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.9 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game, hitting three-pointers at a 37.2 percent clip. But he struggled in Orlando Summer League, hitting just 7 of 26 shots over the team’s five games.