Gigi Datome is leaving the NBA and has signed a two-year deal with Turkey’s Fenerbahce Ulker, the team announced. Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia first reported the sides were finalizing a deal (Twitter link). It’s worth 1.7 million euros a year, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter), and that’s the equivalent of more than $1.876MM. The Celtics last month elected not to make a qualifying offer to Datome that would have been worth $2,187,500.
It’s no surprise to see the Italian forward head back overseas, as Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported early this month that he was torn as he considered whether or not to stay in the NBA. The most recent rumors connected him to European teams, and clubs from overseas began lining up for him months ago.
The two-year NBA veteran made playing time a priority as he pondered his future, Himmelsbach wrote. Datome saw much more burn with the Celtics than he did this season in Detroit, where he made it into only three games before the midseason trade that took him to Boston. Still, he averaged only 10.7 minutes per contest for the C’s, and while coach Brad Stevens was a fan, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had only measured interest.