Milwaukee Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic departure may end up being a permanent one. Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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Can you name the player with the longest tenure on every NBA team entering the 2017-18 season?

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. 

ATL / 2013
Dennis Schroder
BK / 2015
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
BOS / 2014
Marcus Smart
CHA / 2011
Kemba Walker
CHI / 2014
Nikola Mirotic
CLE / 2011
Tristan Thompson
DAL / 1998
Dirk Nowitzki
DEN / 2011
Wilson Chandler
DET / 2012
Andre Drummond
GSW / 2009
Steph Curry
HOU / 2012
James Harden
IND / 2015
Myles Turner
LAC / 2008
DeAndre Jordan
LAL / 2014
Julius Randle
NYK / 2015
Lance Thomas
MEM / 2007
Mike Conley
MIA / 2003
Udonis Haslem
MIL / 2012
John Henson
MIN / 2013
Gorgui Dieng
NO / 2012
Anthony Davis
OKC / 2003
Nick Collison
ORL / 2012
Nikola Vucevic
PHI / 2014
Joel Embiid
PHX / 2013
Alex Len
POR / 2012
Damian Lillard
SA / 2001
Tony Parker
SAC / 2015
Willie Cauley-Stein
TOR / 2009
DeMar DeRozan
UTAH / 2011
Derrick Favors
WAS / 2010
John Wall

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