Spanish guard Sergio Llull remains committed to Real Madrid, stating once again during an interview with COPE radio in Spain that he has no intention of leaving his team in Spain to make the move to the NBA (link via Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype).
“I’m not in the NBA because I’m happy in Madrid,” Llull said. “Houston has been waiting for me three [or] four years.”
The 34th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Llull has been under Rockets control for more than seven years, but has spent that time with Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid. An October report from ESPN’s Marc Stein indicated that Houston planned to push to land Llull for the 2017/18 season, and was optimistic about its chances of bringing him stateside. However, the 29-year-old, who signed an extension with Real Madrid last summer, still doesn’t sound overly eager to play in the NBA.
“They tried to convince me, but I am where I want to be in Madrid,” Llull said. “Houston has been very respectful of my decision. They didn’t pressure me, and congratulate me on my success. I’ve never closed the door on the NBA. I live in the present. … I have a contract with Real Madrid until 2021 and I plan on fulfilling it.”
Although Llull’s current deal runs through 2021, it does include an NBA out, so the Rockets could bring him over sooner than that, if he’s interested. A recent report out of Spain indicated that the buyout for Llull’s contract with Real Madrid had increased to 12 million euros with last year’s extension, but Stein suggested that the buyout isn’t “nearly as onerous” as that report suggests — one of Stein’s sources describes the cost as “manageable.”
In 2015/16, Llull averaged 12.1 PPG and 4.9 APG in Spanish League play, while adding 12.8 PPG and 4.6 APG in 24 Euroleague games. So far this year, playing alongside former NBA vets like Anthony Randolph, Gustavo Ayon, Rudy Fernandez, and Andres Nocioni, Llull has been even better, averaging 13.3 PPG and 6.0 APG in eight Spanish League contests, and 19.4 PPG and 5.8 APG in nine Euroleague games. Real Madrid has a combined record of 14-3 in those games.