Not all players who get into the NBA stay there until they retire. Some of them just aren’t good enough to stay with a team for their entire career, other players want to return to their home country and play there for the last few years of their career. Some of the players on this list are still trying to make their comeback in the NBA, while others are content with playing in Europe or China.
Donatas Motiejunas – Shandong Golden Stars
Motiejunas was drafted into the NBA back in 2011 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he only got to the NBA a year later, when he signed a contract with the Houston Rockets. Though he had a couple of successful months in the NBA, he couldn’t really convince, partly because he was injured a lot. In the end, he decided to leave the NBA after five seasons, as he signed a contract with the Shandong Golden Stars. There, he has made a lasting impression, as he been a great asset to his team.
So far, there’s no chance he’ll return to the NBA this year, as he just signed a contract extension in China.
Joffrey Lauvergne – Fenerbahce
Lauvergne was drafted into the NBA in 2013, but actually signed with a team in 2015. He ended up playing 208 games for four different teams, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, before returning to Europe to play for Fenerbahce this summer.
Jimmer Fredette – Shanghai Sharks
Jimmer Fredette has made it clear in the last few months that he would like to return to the NBA, but so far he hasn’t found a team yet. He has been quite successful in China, as he was averaging 36.8 points over the entire season. With these kind of numbers, Fredette wouldn’t be misplaced on a team in the NBA.
The last time Fredette appeared in the NBA was in 2016, when he was under contract with the New York Knicks, but he spent most of his time in the D-League. Fredette has pointed out he has improved a lot since his time in the NBA.
Anthony Randolph – Real Madrid
Randolph left the NBA in 2014, after he was first traded to the Orlando Magic and then immediately waived. Throughout his NBA season, he had moments where he showed his worth, but didn’t manage to do this consistently.
These days Randolph plays for Real Madrid, and has become an important part of the team. Furthermore, Randolph took on the Slovenian nationality and won the 2018 Eurobasket together with Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic.
Sergio Rodriguez – CSKA Moscow
Rodriguez has had two stints in the NBA, and played for Real Madrid in the meantime. But, in 2016, he decided that he wanted one more shot at playing in the NBA, and therefore signed a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. The season started off well, but soon lost the starting position to T.J. McConnel.
Rodriguez is 31 years old and signed a four year contract with CSKA Moscow In 2017, so he probably won’t return to the NBA again.
Mindaugas Kuzminskas – Milano
Kuzminskas had a decent rookie season with the Knicks, as he played 68 games, started five of those and scored about 6 points per game. Unfortunately, things changed in his second season, and Kuzminskas only saw action in one game, and didn’t even dress up for half of the games. When Joakim Noah was about to return after a suspension, Kuzminskas was waived by the Knicks. There was some interest of other NBA clubs, but Kuzminskas decided to return to Europe.