Alex Abrines Talks About Possible NBA Return

In an interview with Georgios Kyriakidis of TalkBasket, former Thunder guard Alex Abrines says he hasn’t given up on a potential return to the NBA.

Abrines, 26, spent two and a half years with Oklahoma City before being waived last February in a mutual agreement with the team so he could focus on his battle with depression. Abrines was a regular part of the rotation during his first two years in OKC, but was limited to 31 games last season as he struggled with mental health issues.

Abrines returned to Spain after being released and signed with Barcelona in July. He picked up a high-profile teammate in former NBA forward Nikola Mirotic, and the team is cruising through the EuroLeague with a 19-6 record.

“I think I needed a change, although I had some great times in Oklahoma,” Abrines said. “After what happened with my depression, it was tough. I needed a change, to come back home and I think FC Barcelona was the best team. I knew the club, I have friends in Barcelona and it’s pretty close to my hometown. I needed a change of air.”

Abrines describes European basketball as more intense than the NBA because the schedule is shorter and each game is more important. He also “missed playing for so many trophies,” with the King’s Cup, the Spanish League title and the Euroleague all at stake, rather than just the NBA championship.

Still, Abrines enjoyed the chance to compete against the best players in the world and would consider an NBA return in 2021 once he hits free agency again. He signed with Barcelona for two years, along with a third-year option.

“I haven’t closed the door on the NBA,” he said. “Right now, I’m focused on FC Barcelona. I’ve got one more year with them, but you never know what’s going to happen in the future. If I got the chance to go back, maybe I would take it. But it’s not an answer that I have right now.”

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