Italian forward Gigi Datome spent a couple seasons in the NBA in recent years, playing for the Pistons in 2013/14 and both the Pistons and Celtics in 2014/15. However, last summer, Datome headed back overseas, signing a deal with Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker. And for now, the 28-year-old says he’s happy to remain in Turkey, contending for a Euroleague title.
“It would be amazing to win Euroleague,” Datome told Italy’s Tuttosport, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “But it is going to be difficult. CSKA Moscow is a powerhouse, there are Olympiacos, Real Madrid and five other teams. But for this goal some players of our team have decided to stay instead of signing in the NBA, like [Jan] Vesely or [Bogdan] Bogdanovic.
“I had two interesting offers from the NBA during the summer but for one more year I will remain with Fenerbahce,” Datome added. “This is the most interesting basketball. Then we’ll see.”
It’s not clear which two NBA teams might have made those “interesting” offers to Datome, whose rights are no longer held by an NBA club. A cap hold for the veteran forward had been on Boston’s books heading into the 2016 offseason, but the Celtics renounced that hold in order to maximize their cap room in July.
Datome’s contract with Fenerbahce was initially reported to be for two years with a third-year player option, so it’s also not clear whether he would have even been free to move back to the NBA this year — perhaps those teams making “offers” were expressing interest for the future.
In his first stint in the NBA, Datome averaged just 3.4 PPG in 8.1 minutes per contest over the course of 55 games. He currently has a far more significant role in Turkey, so even after his contract with Fenerbahce expires, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him remain overseas for the foreseeable future.