OFFICIAL: Koufos leaves NBA for CSKA
Kostas Koufos leaves the NBA for the first time in his career to sign with Russian giants CSKA Moscow.
Kostas Koufos will continue his career in Europe after signing a two-year contract with Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, leaving the NBA for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old center was a free agent after his contract with the Sacramento Kings ended this summer.
In recent days, rumors emerged that Koufos had agreed to a deal with CSKA and these were later confirmed by the club itself, releasing a statement on their official website. Koufos signed a two-year contract with annual earnings of three million euros, making him the highest-paid American in Europe. The deal does include an NBA buy-out clause in the summer of 2020.
Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA’s head coach, stated “Kostas brings 11 years of NBA experience, experience at the highest level of basketball. He has said to me many times that he still has a big amount of will and energy in his tank. We await him in Moscow, look forward to seeing him on the court, and to achieving many goals together at CSKA.”
Kostas Koufos mentioned “I definitely look forward to playing for one of the best teams in Europe. While playing in the NBA, I was following European basketball and I know that the team has had a lot of success in recent years. I am also excited to play for coach Dimitris and together with my future teammates. I am excited to have a chance to improve. I am sure that it is going to be a good experience.”
CSKA Moscow, coached by Dimitris Itoudis, were crowned champions of last year’s EuroLeague.
In his 11-year NBA career, Koufos played for the Utah Jazz (23rd overall pick in 2008 NBA Draft), a short stint at the Minnesota Timberwolves, three years with the Denver Nuggets, and was traded to the Memphis Grizzles before spending four years in Sacramento.
Kostas played in 723 NBA games averaging 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He is considered a defensive specialist, appearing in many defensive rating lists, rebounds well, and is impressively quick for a big man. On offense, the center plays well in the post and used soft moves and layups around the basket, including the trademark running hook shot. He recorded his best season with the Denver Nuggets in 2012/13 when he started in 81 games while averaging 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Koufos last played at the international level for Greece in the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament. He was not selected by coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos for the upcoming FIBA World Cup due to various off-the-court issues.