Nigel Williams-Goss, the reigning WCC Player of the Year, announced on Twitter that he signed with KK Partizan NIS based in Belgrade, Serbia. The 55th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Williams-Goss opted to forego his training camp invitation with the Utah Jazz in lieu of a two-year contract and guaranteed roster spot with one of Europe’s most accomplished club teams.
1st I want to thank the @utahjazz for giving me the opportunity to come to training camp with such a a great organization... (pt 1)— Nigel Williams-Goss (@NigelWG5) August 28, 2017
However, I've decided its in my best interest to spend my first season as a professional overseas to further my development... (prt. 2)— Nigel Williams-Goss (@NigelWG5) August 28, 2017
KREM 2’s Darnay Tripp reported that this deal has been in the works for Williams-Goss since the draft, and that the Jazz gave the former Gonzaga star its blessing. The move makes sense on many levels for Williams-Goss as he will receive a lot more opportunities to play and grow his game with Partizan than he would have stateside. As one of their draft picks, the Jazz retain the NBA rights to Williams-Goss, allowing it to buy him out of his contract with Partizan at a low cost if needed, and bring him back into the fold as roster needs change.
With Partizan’s season and NBA training camps both slated to start in late September, it makes sense for Williams-Goss to make this decision now so he could join up with Partizan this week (he’s scheduled to leave for Belgrade on Wednesday) and play with the team through its preseason in order to carve out as big of a role as possible for himself.
Williams-Goss did have a training camp invitation with the Jazz but no guarantees of a roster spot. With Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum both ahead of him on the depth chart, and first round draft pick Donovan Mitchell capable of filling in at the point, Williams-Goss was always going to have an uphill battle to make Utah’s roster.
The NBA is undoubtedly still the goal for Williams-Goss, but this move will allow him to play significantly more against top competition in Europe than he would have with in the NBA G-League (where he likely would have ended up), while still being tethered to an NBA team. With reports that Williams-Goss signed for $130,000 with Partizan, he also stands to make a lot more than he would have on a G-League deal.
Best of luck to #5 as he carries the Gonzaga banner to Serbia.