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Bucks’ Nikola Mirotic to leave NBA, sign with Barcelona

Nikola Mirotic, Bucks

Nikola Mirotic, poised to sign a multi-year eight-figure contract in free agency, has elected to leave the NBA and sign with EuroLeague power Barcelona, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Mirotic played in Spain with Real Madrid before coming to the NBA in 2014.

A five-year veteran, Mirotic was dealt from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline last season. After missing half of the remaining regular season schedule with a thumb injury, he struggled immensely in the postseason, eventually being benched by coach Mike Budenholzer at the end of the Bucks’ playoff run.

Mirotic averaged 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds in the regular season while shooting 36.5 percent from three-point range. Despite those merely solid numbers that generally aligned with career norms, his reputation had never been higher throughout 2018-19 following a standout performance – on both ends of the floor, it bears reminding –  in New Orleans’ surprising first-round sweep over the Portland Trail Blazers last year.

Though unlikely to be retained by Milwaukee this summer, Mirotic was nevertheless poised to be one of the most sought after floor-spacing big men on the market. The Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz were recently named as his most interested suitors, both of whom would have ascended up the Western Conference ranks with him in the fold – especially Utah, having already drastically altered its fortunes by trading for Mike Conley.

The 28-year-old Mirotic played in Spain with Real Madrid before coming to the NBA in 2014, winning Spanish League MVP one year earlier.