Friday , Jan , 09 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Could Nenad Krstic’s Return to NBA Spark Trend?

Last summer, Krstic was part of a minor trans-Atlantic exodus, in which about a dozen players left the N.B.A. for teams in Europe. Two weeks ago, Krstic became the first of them to return, leaving Triumph Moscow to sign with Oklahoma City, the N.B.A.’s worst team at 5-31.

Others could soon follow. With a shaky world economy, several European teams, particularly those in Russia, are struggling to make payroll. Players are being paid late, if at all. N.B.A. teams are watching closely, and preparing to pounce if more quality players break free of their contracts.

“There are some situations where they’re only paying the foreign players on time, and the domestic players are being asked to kind of understand the situation and get paid in due time,” said Bryan Colangelo, the Toronto Raptors’ general manager. “And then there’s some situations that might even be worse than that.”