International Notes: Mirotic, J. Young, Kuzminskas, Poythress

Former NBA forward Nikola Mirotic was reportedly set to join Italian club Olimpia Milano last month after spending the past four seasons with FC Barcelona. The Spanish side recently officially terminated Mirotic’s contract, which still had two guaranteed years remaining.

After his agreement with Milano fell through, Mirotic reached a three-year deal with Serbia’s KK Partizan, but the 32-year-old announced on Instagram that he decided not to sign his new contract. He cited unspecified “threats and insults” after the news broke, as relays. The Montenegrin also said he would not compete for any other team in Serbia, even though it’s a country he loves.

Partizan issued its own statement on the matter, per BasketNews, saying the team assured Mirotic that he and his family would be safe, including the president of Serbia personally reaching out to the veteran. The club also expressed skepticism at Mirotic’s reasoning for backing out of the agreement.

Mirotic has been the highest-paid player in Europe since he left the NBA in 2019, winning EuroLeague MVP in 2021/22. The former first-round pick averaged 12.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG on .423/.359/.808 shooting across 319 games with the Bulls, Pelicans and Bucks from 2014-19.

Here are few more notes from across the pond:

  • Another former first-round pick, James Young, has signed a contract with Italy’s Universo Treviso Basket, according to Sportando. Young appeared in 95 NBA games over four seasons with Boston and Philadelphia, with his last campaign coming in 2017/18. He has played in Israel and Greece over the past three seasons. The swingman was selected 17th overall in 2014 and is still just 27 years old.
  • Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas is finalizing a deal with AEK Athens, sources tell Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews (Twitter link). The 33-year-old has spent 13 seasons in Europe, having spent ’22/23 with Turkish club Karsiyaka Basket. He played 69 games for New York from 2016-17.
  • Free agent big man Alex Poythress, who played 52 games with the Sixers, Pacers and Hawks from 2016-19, is finalizing a contract with Olimpia Milano, according to Urbonas of BasketNews. Moses Barda of One first reported the Italian club’s interest in Poythress (via Twitter). The 29-year-old has played for teams in Turkey, Russia and Israel since leaving the NBA, most recently suiting up for Maccabi Tel Aviv last season.
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