Koufos transfers to Europe after lengthy NBA stay
After an 11-year stay in the NBA, Kosta Koufos has made the jump to Europe, penning a deal with CSKA Moscow. AGONAsport looks back at his spell in North America.
The NBA journey is over for Koufos. This summer, the 30-year-old became a free agent after his deal with the Sacramento Kings reached its completion, and the commanding center took the decision to leave the NBA and sign a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow. CSKA - coached by Dimitris Itoudis - are the current EuroLeague champions.
Koufos will earn three million dollars a year in Russia.
Born in the USA to Greek immigrants, Koufos was the 23rd pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, and he ended up spending two seasons with the organisation. In his maiden campaign in the NBA, Koufos impressed in his 48 appearances, tallying an average of 4.7 points, 0.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game in the regular season. However, his statistics dropped in the following campaign, resulting in Koufos being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2010.
Koufos didn’t stay in Minnesota for long. In the ensuing 2010/2011 NBA regular season, he competed in 39 games, but his averages of 2.7 points, 0.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds weren’t exactly convincing. Koufos was offloaded to the Denver Nuggets in February 2011.
The tall center would spend three seasons with the Nuggets, before later playing for the Memphis Grizzlies (2013-2015) and the Sacramento Kings (2015-2019). Incidentally, his best NBA season statistically was the 2012/2013 campaign as a Denver player, averaging 8.0 points and 6.9 rebounds in 81 regular season matches.
Overall, Koufos averaged 5.7 points, 0.5 assists and five rebounds in 686 regular season matches in the NBA, with those numbers standing at 2.4 points, 0.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds in the playoffs. Koufos earned a reputation of a smart defender, boasting a superb pick-and-roll technique. He will add vital experience to this CSKA team as the Russians aim to continue their domestic dominance and retain their firm grip on the EuroLeague trophy.
On the international stage, Koufos made his name when representing Greece at the 2007 FIBA U18 European Championship, starring with fantastic performances and catching the eye of NBA scouts in the process. In that particular competition, he averaged a hugely impressive 26.5 points and 13 rebounds, subsequently being named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Greece lost to Serbia in a dramatic final. Koufos later played at the 2009 EuroBasket with the senior national team in Poland, helping the country earn a bronze medal. He will not play at the 2019 FIBA World Cup after a dispute with head coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos.