Sergio Llull

Rockets Hope To Sign Sergio Llull In 2017

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.

And-Ones: Stackhouse, Labor, Olympics, Garnett

The Raptors are expected to name former All-Star Jerry Stackhouse as head coach of their D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, sources told Chris Reichert of Stackhouse, who played for eight teams during a career that lasted from 1995-2013, spent last season on Dwane Casey’s staff. He would replace Jesse Mermuys, who is now an assistant to new Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton. Stackhouse coached the Raptors’ Summer League team in Las Vegas last month. Raptors 905 was an expansion team last season and had several players that also saw action in the NBA, including Anthony Bennett, Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright and Lucas Nogueira, Reichert adds.

In other news around the league:

  • NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is optimistic a new labor agreement will be reached before a potential lockout, she told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “Our teams have been in discussions for some months now and we have made progress and we’re inclined to continue along those lines,” she said. “We have meetings this summer and we’re meeting next week and [consistently] after that. We’re trying to get a deal as quickly as we can, ideally before the start of the season.” Roberts added that if an agreement isn’t reached by the Dec. 15th deadline, the union would likely opt out, triggering the possible lockout following the season.
  • American fans will get their first look at a lot of foreign players during the Summer Olympics, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. There will be many players whose names are familiar because teams hold their draft rights, such as Croatian star Dario Saric, who recently signed to play for the Sixers next season. Other prominent names include Lithuania’s Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Spain’s Willy Hernangomez, who will both be part of the Knicks; Nigeria’s Michael Gbinije, a second-round pick of the Pistons; China’s Zhou Qi, a Rockets’ second-rounder; Spain’s Sergio Llull, who the Rockets have been trying to convince to come to the NBA, Lithuania’s Domantas Sabonis, who was traded to the Thunder on draft night; and Spain’s Alex Abrines, who recently signed with the Thunder.
  • Kevin Garnett met with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor but no final decision materialized regarding Garnett’s future, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. The 40-year-old Garnett, who appeared in 38 games last season, has one year and $8MM remaining on his contract.
  • CAA Sports signed NBA free agent guards Sergio Rodriguez and Ish Smith and negotiated deals with their new clubs, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The Sixers signed the 30-year-old Rodriguez to a one-year, $8MM contract. Smith received a three-year, $18MM deal from the Pistons.

And-Ones: Terry, Russell, Allen, Rodriguez

Jason Terry has confirmed that he talked to Alabama-Birmingham about its coaching vacancy, but he cautions that doesn’t mean his NBA career is over, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. The Rockets‘ veteran point guard interviewed with UAB on Thursday in Houston, where school officials are gathered for the Final Four. The 38-year-old said the interview doesn’t mean he’s decided to retire when this season is over. “No, I’m focused on the playoffs, and there has been no offer made,” he said, “but I have to keep all my options open when it comes to my post-playing career.” Calvin Watkins of tweets that Terry wants to play two more seasons if UAB doesn’t hire him.

There’s more news from the basketball world:

  • Some in the Lakers organization fear that the video controversy surrouding D’Angelo Russell will obstruct the team’s efforts in free agency this summer, writes Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, though a prominent agent who spoke with Sean Deveney of The Sporting News scoffed at that notion.
  • Stanford small forward Rosco Allen will enter this year’s draft but won’t immediately hire an agent, according to Jon Rothstein of (Twitter link). The school and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress list him as a senior, but his Stanford bio also notes that he received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA for the 2013/14 season, so presumably he has a year of eligibility remaining. He’d get to use that year if he pulls out of the draft by May 25th and doesn’t hire an agent. Givony lists Allen as 69th-best among seniors, but Chad Ford of has him outside his rankings.
  • Four-year NBA veteran Sergio Rodriguez is again considering a return to the league, as international journalist David Pick hears (Twitter link). The point guard was thinking along those lines last year, when he ultimately wound up staying with Real Madrid, the Spanish team he’s played for since his NBA tenure ended in 2010. Conversely, Rodriguez’s Madrid teammate, Rockets draft-and-stash player Sergio Llull, isn’t giving any thought to joining the NBA, as he said in an appearance on Radio Marca (translation via HoopsHype).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southwest Notes: Villanueva, Udrih, Conley

It’s a good bet that Charlie Villanueva will end up back with the Mavericks on a deal for the minimum salary, tweets Tim MacMahon of MacMahon wrote last month that the Mavs would welcome him back if he were to play for that amount, and Villanueva has spoken of his desire to play for coach Rick Carlisle again. There’s plenty more from the Southwest Division, where all five teams made the playoffs this past season even before the summer’s two most talkedabout free agents agreed to go there:

  • Beno Udrih‘s full salary of more than $2.17MM is guaranteed since he remained on the Grizzlies roster through Sunday. It had been partially guaranteed for only $923K, as the schedule of salary guarantee dates shows.
  • Mike Conley triggered a $200K bonus because the Grizzlies went to the second round of the playoffs this past season, so his cap figure for this coming season goes up by that amount, bringing it to $9,588,426, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • Rockets draft-and-stash point guard Sergio Llull has signed an extension with Real Madrid of Spain that runs until 2021, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Llull rejected reported overtures from Houston to join the NBA for this coming season, though his new deal does include a lower NBA buyout. Carlos Sanchez Blas of first reported the deal.
  • The Mavs will soon announce the hiring of Nick Van Exel as the team’s D-League coach, tweets Marc Stein of
  • Pelicans free agent Jimmer Fredette is mulling an offer from Italy’s Olimpia Milano, sources tell Paola De Persis of Sportando. Fredette would nonetheless prefer to stay in the NBA, De Persis notes.

Latest On Rockets, Sergio Llull

JULY 1ST, 4:20pm: Llull has decided against joining the Rockets and will stay with Real Madrid, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

JUNE 22ND, 9:20am: The Rockets are willing to pay the equivalent of nearly $24MM over three years to draft-and-stash point guard Sergio Llull, according to Jose Luis Martinez of (translation via HoopsHype). Martinez cites a figure of 21 million euros, equivalent to almost $23.875MM at the current exchange rate. Such a deal would require the Rockets to open cap space, and it couldn’t become official until after the July Moratorium, since the signing of a former second-round pick like Llull, the 34th pick in the 2009 draft, can’t take place between the end of the regular season and July. The 27-year-old is nonetheless close to a decision on playing for Houston, according to Nikos Varlas of, after having picked the brain of current Rockets point guard and former teammate Pablo Prigioni during a meeting last month, as Javier Maestro of writes (translation via HoopsHype).

Still, the fact that Rockets GM Daryl Morey quickly denied a report from March that the Rockets were willing to give Llull $17MM over three years lends some skepticism to the latest report. Llull recently brushed off renewed talk about a Houston deal, citing his contentment with Spain’s Real Madrid and his contract with the team that runs all the way until 2019, as Mark Porcaro shows in the Hoops Rumors Draft Rights Held Players Database. His buyout costs 5 million euros, Martinez writes, or the equivalent of $5.681MM, and with the NBA’s Excluded International Player Payment capped at $625K for next season, Llull would have to foot much of that bill himself. Rockets coach Kevin McHale nonetheless said recently that Houston would love to sign him. Varlas reported earlier this month, after McHale’s comments, that the Rockets were willing to pay the point guard $15-18MM over three years.

The Rockets have about $54.6MM in guaranteed salary tied up for next season, and they’ve expressed interest in re-signing many of their free agents. So, it’ll be a tight squeeze to fit such a lucrative deal for Llull under the projected $67.1MM cap unless Houston makes salary-clearing trades. Llull, a mainstay of the powerful Spanish national team, averaged 11.2 points, 4.4 assists and 1.0 turnovers in 26.2 minutes per game for Real Madrid this season.

Southwest Notes: Ellis, Llull, Duncan, Collins

The Mavs won’t prioritize re-signing Monta Ellis if he opts out in search of a raise, as expected, reports Tim MacMahon of Ellis, who made $8.36MM this season, had a negative effect on team chemistry this past season because of his moodiness and selfish behavior, a source told MacMahon. The Mavs prefer to spend on either a combination of LaMarcus Aldridge and Tyson Chandler or DeAndre Jordan and a three-and-D wing player, MacMahon adds. That’s in part because the Mavs believe Chandler Parsons will be better off without Ellis’ on-court and off-court influence, as MacMahon details. Still, the Mavs are liable to change their minds based on unforeseen scenarios, just as they did when they decided to up their offer when they signed Ellis two years ago, MacMahon cautions. I looked further into Ellis scenarios when I examined the offseason ahead for the Mavs. Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets have let Sergio Llull know that they’re willing to offer him a three-year deal worth $15-18MM, sources tell Nikos Varlas of Houston GM Daryl Morey batted down a similar report from Javier Maestro of in March, but coach Kevin McHale recently made it clear that the team would like to sign the draft-and-stash point guard. Still, there’s a pricey $4MM buyout attached to Llull’s contract with Real Madrid, Varlas writes, adding that if Llull doesn’t end up in Houston for next season, the team would push to sign draft-and-stash center Marko Todorovic.
  • Attorneys for Tim Duncan today requested that a trial in his lawsuit against a former financial adviser of his take place next summer so that he won’t miss playing time, tweets Guillermo Contreras of the San Antonio Express-News. That doesn’t necessarily signal that the Spurs star intends to play next season, only that he isn’t ruling it out, writes Express-News scribe Jeff McDonald, though it’s an interesting tidbit nonetheless.
  • Chris Mannix of has heard Jarron Collins‘ name bandied about as a possible assistant coach for new Pelicans head man Alvin Gentry (Twitter link). Collins, like Gentry, has spent this past season as a Warriors assistant coach.

Texas Notes: Ellis, Rockets, Mavs

Did you miss out on some of Boris Diaw‘s social media highlights from the past year?  Well, the good news is that the staff at compiled some of the Spurs forward’s greatest hits on Twitter and Instagram, including his flirtation with Movember.  While you flip through that, here’s a look at  more out of the Lone Star State..

  • The expectation remains that Mavericks guard Monta Ellis will opt out of the final season of his contract, Tim MacMahon of tweets.  However, the Mavs have yet to get word from him on his final decision.  Ellis has until June 24th to decide on his $8.72MM player option for next season. Last year, the 29-year-old averaged 18. 9 PPG and 4.1 APG in 33.7 minutes per contest.
  • The Rockets would like to sign draft-and-stash prospect Sergio Llull, but it doesn’t sound like that’s in the cards for this summer. “I’m flattered that there’s talk about me, but I’m happy in Madrid and I have a multi-year contract,” Llull told Spanish outlet Piratas del Basket (translation via HoopsHype). Kevin McHale has made no secret about his desire to coach Llull in Houston, but it’s believed that he’s less-than-thrilled about the prospect of playing a backup role.
  • Georgetown product Josh Smith auditioned for the Mavericks recently, as Mark Medina of the Daily News writes.  Within the article, Smith admitted that his effort was lacking through his first three years of college at UCLA and Georgetown but said that his senior season was indicative of the performance he’ll give at the next level.

Rockets To Pursue Sergio Llull

Kevin McHale made it clear this week that the Rockets want to sign draft-and-stash point guard Sergio Llull this summer, as the coach expressed to host Charlie Pallilo in an appearance on SportsTalk 790 in Houston (audio link), and as Max Croes of SB Nation’s The Dream Shake blog transcribes. McHale said that the Rockets “would love to bring over” the point guard who plays for Real Madrid of Spain, adding that “signing a Sergio Llull would be huge.”

Rockets GM Daryl Morey denied a report that the team was willing to give Llull a deal worth at least $17MM over three years, terms similar to what fellow draft-and-stash prospect Nikola Mirotic received from the Bulls last summer. Such a deal would be difficult for the Rockets to pull off if they elect to remain over the cap and retain Patrick Beverley and Josh Smith. Houston would like to keep both, but while the Rockets have full Bird Rights with Beverley, they only have Non-Bird rights with Smith, so it’s quite possible they’ll have to use the mid-level exception to keep him. That would remove any opportunity for the Rockets to sign Llull for more than the minimum if Houston indeed elects to operate above the cap,

Of course, it’s not a given that the Rockets won’t clear cap room, with about $55MM in guaranteed salary against a projected $67.1MM cap and Morey’s history of salary-clearing deals, as I wrote in my look at the offseason ahead for Houston. Croes suggests that Houston’s apparent desire for Llull is an ominous sign for Kostas Papanikolaou, on whom the Rockets have a team option worth nearly $4.8MM for next season. Still, even if Houston picks up that option, his salary wouldn’t be guaranteed until October 4th.

It’s unclear exactly what it would take for Houston to convince Llull to come stateside, though Llull didn’t seem too excited about the NBA when he said recently that the best place for him to win titles was with Real Madrid. David Pick of cast doubt a month ago on the idea of Llull leaving Europe, believing that the 27-year-old, who’ll turn 28 in November, wouldn’t be enthusiastic about coming over in a backup role. Llull is averaging 10.7 points, 4.3 assists and 0.9 turnovers in 25.8 minutes per game this season.

And-Ones: Mudiay, Llull, Anderson

It is difficult for NBA scouts to accurately gauge how good 2015 NBA Draft prospect Emmanuel Mudiay is because of his decision to play in China this past season, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. But Mudiay thinks his experience overseas has prepared him for the rigors of the NBA just as well as attending SMU would have, Pompey adds. “I got out of it what I wanted,” said Mudiay. “It definitely was a great experience. I wanted to do it for my mom at first. But after I made the decision and made sure she was financially stable, I just wanted to go on and pursue it, a basketball mind-set. It can definitely help me out in the NBA.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rockets draft-and-stash prospect Sergio Llull has been rumored to be in line to receive a three-year deal worth a total of at least $17MM to join the NBA next season, though Houston GM Daryl Morey denied that was the case. For his part, Llull isn’t too concerned about whether or not he plays in the U.S. in 2015/16. In an interview with (translation by Enea Trapani of Sportando), Llull said, “The NBA is there, but I’ll sleep well in any case. I want to win titles and I’m in the best place to do that.” Llull currently plays for Real Madrid in the Euroleague.
  • Virginia forward Justin Anderson can be looked at as “Tony Allen with a jump shot,” and the swingman is firmly on the Celtics‘ radar heading into the 2015 NBA Draft, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes. Anderson enjoyed his sit down with Boston coach Brad Stevens at the draft combine, Blakely adds. “What stuck out to me most, is him [Stevens] and his relationship with his guys,” Anderson said. “Just coming out of college, playing for him would be similar to playing for coach [Tony] Bennett.
  • Pistons TV analyst and former NBA player Grant Long wants to become an NBA coach, and he is making the rounds this offseason hoping to land an assistant position to realize that dream, Terry Foster of The Detroit News writes. “What’s odd is when I was playing I heard all the time from coaches what a wonderful coach you would make,” Long said. “And when I finished playing I got nothing. Sometimes it’s just lip service until you get in. I know I am not ready to be a head coach, but I feel in time I will. That is why I want to be an assistant first. I know the game. I can convey it to players to make them better. I can motivate people and can relate to younger players.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Rockets, Stiggers

The Mavericks will likely have a large roster turnover this offseason, Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Starters Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo and reserves Amar’e Stoudemire, Richard Jefferson, J.J. Barea, Charlie Villanueva and Greg Smith will be unrestricted free agents this summer, while Monta Ellis, Al-Farouq Aminu and Raymond Felton have player options on their contracts. President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said head coach Rick Carlisle will have to put the pieces together in training camp, Price continues. “It puts our head coach in a difficult position, because when you’re shuffling in new pieces it’s just more challenging,” Nelson said to the team’s beat writers. “It’s not the preferred way of doing business, but in this age of free agency you have to have talent to win in this league.” Carlisle has already declared that Rondo, who had a tumultuous season with the club after being traded from the Celtics in December, will not be back. Chandler did not tip his hand concerning his future plans and that means the Mavs would likely pursue other top free agent centers on the market, including DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, Robin Lopez and Omer Asik, Price asserts. LaMarcus Aldridge is another prominent free agent on the team’s radar screen, according to Price, but the team might have to convince Dirk Nowitzki to come off the bench to make that happen. Aminu, coming off strong playoff performances with Chandler Parsons injured, will opt out and seek a significant raise from the approximate $1.1MM he was due next season, Price adds.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • It’s possible that Rockets draft-and-stash prospect Sergio Llull would consent to become a backup in the NBA, but it’s not likely, as David Pick of Basketball Insiders writes in a chat with readers. GM Daryl Morey earlier this spring denied a report that the team was planning a three-year offer to Llull worth a total of $17MM or more.
  • Jherrod Stiggers will be among the draft prospects working out for the Rockets on Tuesday, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. Stiggers, a junior guard from the University of Houston, averaged 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his final college season. Stiggers has a long way to go to become a serious draft candidate. He is not listed among Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider Top 100 Big Board or DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 prospects.