Lots of speculation – including that by fans in three NBA cities – ended on Monday with the signing of prize free agent Stefano Mancinelli by Armani Jeans Milano. Italian media had reported that Mancinelli’s agent was entertaining offers from the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers for the forward, but Mancinelli will instead be staying in his home country for two more years. The small forward was jettisoned in the Fortitudo Bologna mess which resulted in that team’s diminishment to amateur status, and Mancinelli is currently training with Team Italy in preparation for the EuroBasket tournament.

(Euroleague.net) – One of the best small forwards of his generation returns to the Euroleague after a two-year absence with the news that Armani Jeans Milano signed Stefano Mancinelli to a two-year deal on Monday. Mancinelli (203, 26) arrives from Fortitudo Bologna, where he had played throughout his entire career, making his Italian League debut in the 2000-01 season. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in six Eurocup games last season. Mancinelli boosted his scoring average to 13.8 points in 30 Italian League games, but could not prevent Fortitudo from avoiding relegation. He helped Fortitudo make it to six consecutive Italian League finals from 2001 to 2006, lifting the trophy in 2005. Mancinelli also played with Fortitudo in the 2004 Euroleague final, in which his club lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv. He is a regular member of the Italian national team and took part in the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Japan. Mancinelli is now trying to bring Italy to EuroBasket 2009 through the additional qualifying round.

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