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NBA AM: Jerebko Has No Plans to Return Overseas

Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko, a free agent this summer, won’t pursue an overseas opportunity

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Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko: No plans on going back overseas

Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko is in the final season of his contract and will enter this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Jerebko is currently owed $4.5 million this season and along with teammates Greg Monroe and Joel Anthony are among the Pistons’ big men headed to the open market in a few months.

Jerebko started his professional career in Sweden back in 2005 before serving a stint in the Italian League. The forward entered the 209 draft where he was selected by Detroit in the second round (No. 39 overall).

Despite previous success playing overseas, Jerebko is adamant he has no plans to play internationally and fully intends to remain in the NBA after the free agency dust settles.

“No I’m in the NBA,” Jerebko told Basketball Insiders. “That’s it. I’m not even considering going overseas right now. The NBA is where I want to be. I want to stay in this league.

“But right now I’m 100 percent concentrating on Detroit and our season here, trying to make the best out of this situation. The summer is the summer and I’ll evaluate [free agency] when it comes, you know.”

As a rookie during the 2010 campaign, Jerebko averaged 9.3 points and six rebounds on 48 percent shooting in what seemed to be a promising start to his tenure in the league. But the last four seasons Jerebko has adjusted to coaching changes, injuries and role shifts, which have led to declining and inconsistent production.

Even with the recent declines, Jerebko continues to prove when given minutes he’s a productive frontcourt player with the ability to score and rebound efficiently. For his career, when Jerebko plays between 30-39 minutes he averages 12.1 points and 7.7 rebounds on 49 percent shooting from the floor.

The fifth year veteran says his career in the NBA has been filled with highs and lows, but believes he’s capable of a bigger role when the opportunity presents itself.

“Every year in the league has been up and down for me,” Jerebko readily admits. “But I’m trying to approach it the same way. I’m just trying to work hard and give it 100 percent every time I have a chance to get on the court. Now, it’s starting to pay off.

“The NBA is a business, so when your name is called you have to be ready. That’s really how it is. You have to stay professional at all times, even when you’ve been through lows, been through the ups and everything. You just always have to be the same person everyday you come to work.”

Despite a horrendous start to the season, the Pistons (17-30) remain just 2.5 games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.

Jerebko says the team’s chemistry continues to improve and confirms the early losing patterns were starting to wear on some of the guys in the locker room.

“The chemistry is great,” Jerebko says. “You can tell on the court we’re having more fun out there. Chemistry is important and it definitely changed with winning. Losing games is never fun. Nobody likes it. Winning brings out the best in everyone.”

On the season, Jerebko is averaging 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per night in 42 contests. On a Per 36 minutes basis, those averages translate to 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Rockets’ Dwight Howard, out again?

When Dwight Howard entered the league he was somewhat of an ironman. The center missed just seven regular season games in his first seven seasons in the league, while routinely playing 35-plus minutes per night. That type of usage is normal among young and athletic guards, but big men typically log less minutes. That’s part of what made Howard special on both end of the floor. Relentless energy, superior conditioning and rare durability.

However, the past few seasons haven’t been the best physically for Howard. There was the back injury which required surgery in 2012. While Howard showed toughness by gutting through the 2013 campaign it was obvious the injury had sapped some of his explosiveness. Last season, Howard missed 11 contests with a variety of smaller ailments. This season, the veteran has already missed 14 games due to a knee injury and will now potentially miss extended time.

According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Howard is set to get a second opinion on his troublesome right knee and didn’t travel with the team for its two game Eastern Conference road trip in order to get it further evaluated.

On the season Howard is averaging 16.3 points, 11 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. While most centers would dream of that nightly production, it’s important to note his blocked shots are at their lowest levels since 2007 and his rebounding figures have dipped each season 2012.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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