Spanish guard Sergio Llull has shown little interest in making the move to the NBA, but the Rockets remain hopeful that they’ll be able to bring Llull to Houston in the near future. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter), the Rockets hope to have Llull join them for the 2017/18 season.
The 34th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Llull has been under Rockets control for more than seven years, but has spent those seven years with Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid. The veteran guard will turn 29 next month and thus far has been resistant to leaving Spain — last summer, he signed an extension with Real Madrid that keeps him under contract through 2021, though it also lowered the price on his NBA buyout.
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. Over the weekend, he played a major part in the club’s preseason victory over the Thunder, hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.
Because Llull was drafted so long ago and was a second-round pick, he wouldn’t be subject to the NBA’s rookie scale, so if the Rockets make a push to sign him next summer, the team would have to use cap room or an exception (likely the mid-level) in order to complete a deal.