Forward Nikola Mirotic has signed a three-year contract, which includes an option for a fourth season, with FC Barcelona.
"I grew a lot in the United States, the last two years were the best," Mirotic said of his decision. "I played on good teams, but I missed the competition in Europe, the Endesa League, the EuroLeague, the Copa del Rey. I was looking for stability for my family. I had a chance to participate in a nice project and it was a very good opportunity for me to come here."
While the numbers waned a little during the Bucks' postseason run, Mirotic remained an integral part of the rotation as a floor spacer.
"He's just a really versatile player, so it's just exciting to think about the different ways we can incorporate him offensively," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters in February. "I think there's a toughness to him that's maybe underappreciated.
"Defensively, I think he'll stick his nose in. He's shown to be a little better defender than many people give him credit for, so just with he and Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and whether it be Brook [Lopez] or Ersan [Ilyasova] or D.J. [Wilson], there's just a lot of versatility there in how we can use these guys and still be really good on both ends of the court."
Mirotic will play a similar role in Barcelona, likely with more responsibility as a scorer. He reached something of his platonic ideal as a player over the last two seasons, and he should fit in perfectly as a sixth man or in the starting lineup.
His decision to leave for Spain comes as a surprise only because he was expected to draw eight-figure offers on the open market. The Utah Jazz were among the teams expected to be interested. They pivoted quickly to Bojan Bogdanovic.
Mirotic's versatile playing style should make him a EuroLeague standout once again after starting his professional career with Barca's rival Real Madrid. It's possible, perhaps even likely, that we'll never see Mirotic in an NBA game again as he enjoys stardom in Europe.