Eleven-year NBA veteran Eduardo Najera has reportedly recovered from surgery he had in April to repair a fractured frontal lobe, and now has medical clearance to return to basketball this upcoming season. According to several reports, the Charlotte Bobcat free agent is now drawing interest from the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, and Houston Rockets to sign for the veteran’s minimum salary (one year, $1.2 million).
In an Apr. 6 matchup between the Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks, Najera was injured by an inadvertent elbow delivered by Jon Bruckman in the second quarter. Doctors on scene diagnosed the 36-year-old forward with a facial fracture, and was forced to miss the rest of the regular season. In 22 games last season, Najera averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12 minutes per game.
If Najera is signed by Minnesota, he would provide solid perimeter defense to the forward position and some veteran leadership to a team that has only three players with at least five years of NBA experience.
There is also speculation that 6-foot-8 scrappy forward may retire and begin a career coaching basketball in the NBDL, according to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com.
“I’ve actually been talking to Donnie (the Mavs GM and the owner of the D-League Texas Legends) for two years about someday going into coaching,” Eddie tells me. “Hey, if I’m going to retire, I’ve got to start doing something, right?”
“I live five minutes away from the (Legends headquarters in Frisco),” Eddie says. “I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m going to visit with Donnie and with my family …But if we decide to go that way, it’s a good fit.”
I asked Najera about reports that Brooklyn, Houston and Minnesota are all interested in talking with him about extending his playing career.
“That’s flattering, but I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “My agent is handling that. I’m open to it, but …”
Najera ended the topic of returning to the NBA at that.
Eduardo Najera Info:
- Drafted 38th overall in 2000 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets; rights traded that same night to Dallas.
- Second Mexico native to play in NBA (Horacio Llamas); first ever to be drafted (University of Oklahoma).
- In 11 seasons, Najera has averaged 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game.
- Helped Dallas defeat Minnesota in the first round of the 2001-02 NBA playoffs.
- Played for Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Nets, and the Bobcats.
About the Author
Written by Jourdan Shepard
New York born. New Jersey bred. Earned my degree on a Georgia clay hill. "Rooting for my rival is like wanting the house to win in blackjack...."