FC Barcelona Rumors
Pau Gasol wasn’t really thinking about a possible return to Europe before getting signed by the Portland Blazers. While Gasol’s Spanish national team teammates Nikola Mirotic and Alex Abrines will be coming back to EuroLeague next season, having both joined Barcelona, the plan for the two-time NBA champion was always to stay in the NBA.
“I really didn’t weigh the possibility of returning to Europe,” Gasol said per Marca. “My idea was to remain in the NBA. After seeing all the options, the one that Portland had was the best and the one I felt fits best to my career at this time.” Gasol also mentioned a potential return Europe would possibly bring him back to the team he played before moving to the NBA: Barcelona.
Álex Abrines is on his way back to the Palau Blaugrana. The 25-year-old from the Balearic Islands has reached a two-year agreement with Barça with the option of a third season to come back to the club that he served from 2012 to 2016 and thus bring an end to a three-year stint in the NBA at the Oklahoma City Thunder. He will be officially presented on Monday 15 July at 7.00pm CEST, pending a medical examination.
The 28-year-old forward also shared that he has grown a lot in the US and was on good squads but missed the European competitions and was looking for his family’s stability: “There have been good years of growth in the United States, the last two – my best two. I played on good teams, but I missed the competition in Europe. The Endesa League, the Euroleague, the Copa del Rey… I was looking for stability for my family. I have been given a very good project and a very good opportunity to come here. “
“I’m just a basketball player, man,” he said. “I don’t have a position. I go out there and just play the game the right way. I like to score the basketball, though. That’s one thing that I do really well. I’m a guy that goes out there and just plays the game. If coach wants to put me at the four or put me at the five, I’ll go play it. I think now in today’s NBA it’s positionless basketball anyway.” Portis intends to bring a toughness to the Knicks, a reputation that has been earned and cultivated. He was suspended for eight games in 2017 for punching teammate Nikola Mirotic in the face, breaking two bones and giving him a concussion, while he was with the Bulls — an incident that will likely end up in the first paragraph of his career summary.
As Mundo Deportivo reports, while according to sources from Barcelona the total cost of the contract is 26 million euros, Mirotic could receive between 3.9 million and 5.2 million euros net per season, marking him as the best-paid player in Europe currently. The second-highest contract is signed by Khimki’s Alexey Shved (around 3.6M euros per season).