Nikola Mirotic last played in the NBA in the 2018-2019 season, and his departure may end up being a permanent one.
In an interview this week, the former Milwaukee Bucks big man told the story of how he turned down a three-year deal from the Utah Jazz last summer.
“I wanted to spend free agency while on vacation in Greece with my family,” he said, per EuroHoops. “Utah wanted to have a meeting on June 30 to sign me as the first player in free agency. They offered me three years guaranteed, a great contract. I spoke to my wife and she told me to take what made me happy. I took a ticket for two days, a round trip, and I left.
“I was waiting at the gate of Thessaloniki Airport when I started to think, ‘What do I do at the airport? Why am I not with my family? The NBA?’” added Mirotic. “I said to myself, ‘Don’t do it Niko. If you go, you will sign.’ I left the airport and went back to the hotel. I told my agent that I wasn’t going to catch the flight and to apologize to Utah for not attending the meeting. ‘I’m going to take another path, I don’t want to continue in the NBA.’”
The 29-year-old Mirotic was part of the 60-win Bucks team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019. He also previously played for the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls, averaging 12.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his five NBA seasons.
Mirotic instead signed a three-year deal to return to the EuroLeague, where he first began his professional career in 2008, and play for Spanish basketball powerhouse FC Barcelona. We know that the sharpshooting big also turned down a chance to return to one of his old NBA teams that summer, and now Mirotic is revealing that the second team he had an offer from was the Jazz.
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For this quiz, tenure begins during a player's rookie year. If two players on the same team were selected in the same year, the higher draft choice is the player with the longest tenure.