Another Atlanta Hawks player from their Summer League team will be playing overseas next season, as Lamar Patterson has signed with Turkish team Tofas Bursa.
Stephen Holt was the first summer-leaguer to sign elsewhere, deciding to skip an opportunity at Hawks training camp and choosing to sign with German team MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg.
Trevor Releford made a similar decision one day later, inking a deal with Polish team King Wilki Morskie.
All three players knew they had no chance at making the Hawks’ NBA roster and would have spent the season playing in the D-League if they stayed in the U.S., so they all made the right decision to go overseas where they will play more — and get paid more.
Patterson was selected with the 48th overall draft pick in June and was acquired by Atlanta on draft night in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks in return for a 2015 second-round pick.
Patterson is the second Hawks draftee who will be playing overseas. Walter “Edy” Tavares, whom Atlanta drafted five spots ahead of Patterson at the #43 overall spot, is “very likely” staying in Spain next season with Gran Canaria of the ACB League.
The 22-year-old swingman indicated a preference for signing with Atlanta when he spoke last month with Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, there’s no room for Patterson so the team is stashing him overseas.
“Definitely, I knew that going in,” Patterson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month about the possibility of playing overseas next season. “The Hawks weren’t the only team where that option was on the table. I knew that going in. Right now I’m doing everything I can. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to do this or that in order to stay. I know eventually I will have my opportunity. As long as I’m ready for that opportunity and I take it by the horns and run with it, I will be fine.”
Patterson averaged 6.0 points in 25.3 minutes per game in six summer league appearances for the Hawks. He had a stellar senior season for the University of Pittsburgh, averaging 17.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 32.6 minutes per game.
“Lamar is in a good position to continue his development while playing meaningful minutes for a strong professional program next season,” Hawks President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry said a statement. “We have a great respect for the international game and will be closely monitoring Lamar’s progress with Tofas.”
“I am excited about heading to Tofas in Turkey this season,” Patterson said in a statement released by the Hawks. “The Turkish league is extremely competitive and the team also plays in a great international league called EuroChallenge. My goal absolutely remains to play for the Hawks and this is an important step to help me get there. I am going to continue working extremely hard this year and I will come back as an improved player who is ready to contribute in any way possible to help the Hawks win games.”
Best of luck, Lamar!