Reports are coming in that the 30 year old Slovenian big man and his Euroleague/ACB team, FC Barcelona, are in talks to part ways.
FC Barcelona recently signed the 2013-14 ACB Regular Season MVP, Justin Doellman (US), who plays the same position as Lorbek, and this seems to be fueling the rumour mill.
Lorbek was included with Davis Bertans in the Kawhi - George Hill trade. He played NCAA ball sparingly in MSU and left after a year to turn Pro in Europe. He's been successful across the pond and there was some strong interest on the part of the Spurs to bring him over in 2012 when he was a free agent, later deciding to return to FC Barcelona. It should be noted that when his 2012 deal was first reported, it was a three-year contract with an NBA-out after two years (aka NOW).
To put a damper on our Lorbek-to-the-Spurs-circa-2012 dreams though, he had knee surgery early last year and missed the first two months of the ACB season. After recovering, he played lesser minutes than he did the previous season, before being given inconsistent minutes in the playoffs, and finally not playing at all in his team's final game (they won 3-1 in the ACB Finals). He would also alternate between a starting role and a bench role (or DNP) throughout the season. His stats were poorer than the previous year and I found a report that he's played like a shadow of his former self.
I'm not a doctor though, nor a Spanish speaker who followed Barcelona so I can't give a definitive projection on his chances if he ever comes to the NBA (which he said he never closed the door on, when he re-signed with Barcelona in 2012).
His knee surgery was described as arthroscopy, which isn't a really difficult recovery process (people like Nick Collison, Joakim Noah, Tyreke Evans are still NBA level players). On one hand, he's never been a player who relied on his athleticism to contribute, on the other the reports I looked at have described him as a slower after surgery and without his quick feet that made him so good in Europe back when we were trying to get him. We don't know if he'll get up to speed soon enough, or if weight/conditioning issues will hamper him again.
I'm not sure if we can put much stock on his starter-reserve role as well. I looked at his teammate Juan Carlos Navarro's game log this year and his role shuffled within the season as well. Now, that's understandable for the Navarro of the Grizzlies but he's a big star back home.
In summary: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Originally published in Kitchen Appliance Propaganda