NBA Rumor: Shane Larkin Free Agency

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Ergin Ataman was a guest on Turkish television and, among other things, he talked about whether Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic will continue with the team, the potential addition of Will Clyburn, as well as if this Efes squad could be considered the best in Euroleague history. “Shane Larkin is very happy here. Larkin reached the peak of his career in Anadolu Efes, becoming one of the 2 to 3 best players in Europe, sometimes even the best. He broke the record in Europe. Won two championships in a row. The family atmosphere in Anadolu Efes must have affected him as well, but after all, he is a professional. Of course, there are serious offers for him. After all, free agents in Europe are clear today. Of course, we really want Larkin to continue with us. Let’s hope this will work out in a positive way, but if it doesn’t, there may be some flash transfers as a result,” he said and compared it to stellar transfers in soccer.

You’ve said that you’ve had some offers from the NBA during the past summer, but Anadolu Efes’ role satisfied you the best. Did you have a guaranteed offer from an NBA team that you came close to signing with? Shane Larkin: I had a multi-year guaranteed deal in the NBA. It was good money, similar money to what I was going to be getting here in Efes, but things just didn’t work out the way that we wanted them to and now I’m back in Efes. I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to have another opportunity to win a EuroLeague championship. It would’ve been a great opportunity, but things didn’t work out. It’s all good and I’m back in Efes where I love to be. Back in a country where I love living. I love my life, love my situation here in Efes, love being in Istanbul. We’re now going to make the best out of this season and try to get what we’ve been chasing for the last three years.

Now, if an NBA team is interested in him, it must guarantee him 18 to 25 minutes, a chance to shoulder “true responsibility” right away and designate him an “important piece of a franchise moving forward.” At the same time, he admits, “most players don’t make that jump from EuroLeague to being a starting point guard in the NBA.” “I will not go back to the NBA as a third point guard,” Larkin said. “So, if any team asks about that, we’re not even gonna answer the phone.”

“If I’m working that hard to try to get you guys to believe that I’m the best player in Europe, and people are understanding that, I want to enjoy the luxuries of that. I work hard for what I do and I want people to respect that. I don’t want to go to the gym and work out and put my body through hell, and then when it’s the most fun time, and everybody gets to see what you’ve been working on, and it’s time to put on a show, you’re in a warmup the entire time, sitting on the bench, you don’t get to enjoy the pleasures of your work. I love putting in the work and then I love the benefits of my hard work.”


What factors are you considering in free agency? What things are most important to you as look at potential destinations? Shane Larkin: The most important thing for me is playing time. I’ve been in a lot of different situations throughout my career thus far. Sometimes I’ve played a lot of minutes, sometimes I haven’t gotten many minutes, sometimes the minutes have been very inconsistent. I’m just trying to find a team that wants me to play good minutes so that I can continue to grow and develop for their team.

Shane Larkin: To be clear, I have no problem going back to the Celtics. I loved it there this year. I loved the role I had and they have a great, up-and-coming team that’s going to be outstanding for many years. This was the most fun year I had in the NBA, the most fun I’ve had since I left college. Boston is always an option that I would be interested in, but whichever team offers me the best chance go out there and continue to grow will be my main focus in free agency. I’d love to be back in Boston, given the right circumstances, though.

Six European teams have already offered him contracts that would pay $1.5 million per year or more, he said. “They know I’ve been over there and they know I’m not afraid,” Larkin said. “A lot of NBA guys are afraid to go over there. I think it’s because they don’t think they’re good enough to go over there and then come back, but I know now from experience that I’m good enough to do it. I’m not afraid to do it if that’s the best situation for me.”

You’re an unrestricted free agent this summer. Are you hoping to re-sign with Boston or are you going to cross that bridge when you get to it? Shane Larkin: Obviously going into free agency, you can’t say, “Yeah, this is what’s going to happen.” I love being in Boston and if Boston is the right place for me to be next season, I would be happy to come back and have no hesitation because I love the fans, I love the city and I love everything about it. But it always comes down to what’s the best situation. In Boston this season, I’ve played basically 12 minutes per game and obviously I want to be a guy who continues to grow and continues to be better and continues to get to the level of a guy like Ish Smith or Patty Mills – the guys who have blossomed and grown every year to the point that they’re now looked at as some of the best backup point guards in the league. I think I have all the ability to do that and more.

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent guard Shane Larkin. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Larkin (5-11, 175 lbs.) most recently played for Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in Spain last season where he played a total of 72 games (70 starts) split between ACB league play, the Euroleague and the Spanish Cup. The 24-year-old played in 37 games for Baskonia in ACB play, averaging 14.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.38 steals in 28.0 minutes. The University of Miami product also appeared in 33 games of the Euroleague, notching 12.1 points (34.3% 3-PT), 2.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.27 steals.

You saw a lot of guys opting out of their contract in free agency and it went well for most of them. You did the same, didn’t go so well for you. Any regret? Shane Larkin: Not really. The situation in Baskonia is a better situation than Brooklyn knowing that they wanted to go in a different direction. I could have possibly been in a bad situation with the guards they drafted perhaps playing in front of me because the new management might want to see them play. That situation wasn’t ideal. I don’t feel any regret about my decision. Obviously, it’s not all about the money, but I’m playing for more money this year than I did last year and I’m playing in a good situation where I’m going to have a lot of people watching me play and seeing my improvement. I’ll play in a competition where there’s a bunch of talented players. I think there’s 10 guys that were in the Euroleague that signed NBA deals this summer.

“I’m not a guy who wants to play a 10-year career with eight different teams; I want to find a home and really lock in with a team where I know what the coach wants, what my teammates want and we can just all grow together,” Larkin told Basketball Insiders. “I feel like that’s how you get the best out of your players. It’s not like, ‘Alright, let’s get this guy here for a year, he can fill in this void for us and then [move on].’ I just turned 23, so I’m still young. Being able to get with a team on a two-year deal or three-year deal saying, ‘This is what we want you to be. We want you to spark our offense, push the tempo, be this guy and this is what we feel you can do for the team,’ then that’s perfect. Whether I’m a starter or whatever, it’s cool either way. I just want to find a situation where a team wants to see me grow with them and not just [have me as] a fill-in. That’s the kind of situation I’d be looking for.”

Larkin, the No. 18 selection in the 2013 NBA draft, will be a restricted free agent on July 1, if he declines the option. Larkin doesn’t have a high market value around the NBA and for that reason he will probably opt in to guarantee the $1.5 million for next season. Larkin played in 78 games this season, starting 17, and he averaged 7.3 points, 4.4 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Besides Larkin, teammates Wayne Ellington and Thomas Robinson also own player options for next season.
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