NBA

Reports: Mirotic to leave NBA for EuroLeague

Free agent Nikola Mirotic plans to return to Europe after five seasons in the NBA and sign with EuroLeague team Barcelona, according to multiple reports.

The stretch 4 was projected to have a starting salary of $12 to $14 million on a long-term deal if he signed with an NBA team, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Mirotic, 28, had a standout career at Real Madrid before entering the NBA with the Chicago Bulls before the 2014-15 season.

The Athletic was first to report Mirotic’s plans to sign with Barcelona.

This past season, Mirotic was one of the biggest names moved at the NBA’s trade deadline once again. After he was sent from the Bulls to the New Orleans Pelicans at the deadline in 2018, New Orleans moved him to Milwaukee on deadline day this time around.

Ultimately, though, Mirotic’s impact in Milwaukee was less than expected, as a thumb injury kept him to only 14 games in the regular season — although he returned for the start of the playoffs. He was later excised from coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation in the Eastern Conference finals against the Toronto Raptors, playing just nine minutes in Game 5 of that series before not playing at all in Game 6. He went 6-for-31 from 3-point range in the series overall.

Still, Mirotic had entered the summer as an intriguing fit for many teams, thanks to his elite shooting ability as a big man. He averaged over 15 points per game each of the past two seasons while shooting 37.7 and 36.5%, respectively, from 3-point range, taking over six triples per game. That kind of reliable shooting and scoring from a stretch 4 — especially one who can survive defensively — isn’t easily found.

Mirotic averaged 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds in sum this past season during his stops in New Orleans and Milwaukee.

Information from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps was used in this report.

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