Ryan Aston , 2019-06-03 21:47:17
Utah Jazz big man and former EuroLeague champion and Final Four MVP Ekpe Udoh may be taking his game across the pond once again.
Before Ekpe Udoh signed on the dotted line with the Utah Jazz two years ago, he was doing big things in Europe. Suiting up for the Istanbul, Turkey-based Fenerbahçe, Udoh averaged 12 points, eight boards and more than two blocks per game in EuroLeague competition, leading his club to a championship win over Greek powerhouse Olympiacos along the way.
Fast-forward to now and the 2017 EuroLeague Final Four MVP may be on the verge of a big return to a premiere club across the pond.
Per a report from Eurohoops’ Nikos Varlas last week, Udoh — who will be an unrestricted free agent after spending the last two years in Jazzland — has several offers on the table from high-profile teams in Europe.
On Monday, the Deseret News’ Eric Woodyard confirmed with his own sources that Udoh may have as many as five offers out from EuroLeague squads in Spain, Italy and Turkey.
It would seem that one of the offers is from Fenerbahçe rival Anadolu Efes SK, the team that former Jazzmen Tibor Pleiss and Brock Motum suited up for this past season. After Efes’ most recent Turkish BSL playoff game against Galatasaray, head coach Ergin Ataman confirmed his team his targeting Udoh.
One thing is certain — regardless of where Udoh ends up next season, he’ll be missed if he doesn’t return to the 801. Although he was largely limited to spot minutes, mop-up duty and emergency fill-in time in the wake of injuries, Udoh was always a strong defensive presence when he was on the floor.
Over his two years with the Jazz, he boasted a block rate of 7.7 percent; had he played enough to qualify, he would have finished No. 2 in the Association last season in that department and led the league in 2017-18.
As much as he made the most of his limited run on the floor, though, he may have brought even more to the table as a locker room presence, mentor for young players like Donovan Mitchell and positive force in the community with efforts such as Ekpe’s Book Club, which attracted the eye of former First Lady Michelle Obama in February.
Nevertheless, Udoh is no spring chicken at 32 years old and his offensive limitations would probably always preclude him from playing a major role in Utah. Financially, and where his ability to make a big impact in important games goes, a EuroLeague return may be his best bet.