Real Madrid Rumors
Over the past few weeks, there is a lot of speculation going on about Sergio Llull’s possible jump to the NBA, after excessive interest from the Houston Rockets. The Real Madrid guard spoke to Mundo Deportivo and cleared things out. “Rumors like these will always be there, especially when you beat Oklahoma the way we did. It will probably take a few weeks until the speculations stop”, the player answers. “I am very calm as I’ve said many times. I am very happy here and I’m not thinking of anything else. I just think of the game against Olympiacos on Wednesday, winning titles and celebrating with the fans.”
Fred Katz: Thought this quote from Russell Westbrook about how offenses in Europe “are 10 times better than NBA offense” was interesting: On second game defense, what he saw different “Just our awareness on what plays. I think one thing people don’t realize is guarding teams in Europe, their offenses are 10 times better than NBA offense just because they move around a lot. A lot of movement and not as much talent so they have to do different things to be able to score the basketball. I think it was a good experience for us to be able to go to Europe and be able to guard those offenses and some of the best teams. That’s always good for us.”
Sources briefed on the specifics of Llull’s contract, however, tell ESPN.com that the NBA buyout to free him from his contract in Madrid is not nearly as onerous as Spanish press reports suggest. It’s “manageable” in the words of one source.
If it were up to the Rockets, Llull would have been here by now, giving Mike D’Antoni one more shooter to space the floor in his James Harden-centric offense. Yet sources insist that the national team mainstay, for all his public pronouncements about spending the rest of his career in the Spanish capital, does have legit interest in coming over to the NBA and truly testing himself against the world’s best.
The belief in Europe is that the Rockets would have to promise a significant role, on top of a pile of money that covers any buyout and also pays him nicely, to get Llull to leave behind his comfort zone and the adoring Madrid public. Just know this: Houston, sources say, will keep trying to convince Llull to make the leap.