3. Lack of interest in the NBA
It’s quite surprising that the Rockets have continued to pursue Llull because he’s made it clear that he doesn’t want to play in the NBA. There could be several possibilities for this, such as not wanting to relocate his family (which is valid), or possibly that he knows how much different NBA play is from international play.
There are more hard fouls in the NBA and it’s commonly perceived as a much tougher style of play than Euroball. Llull is essentially a scoring guard with a 6-foot-3 frame and weighs 205 pounds, which makes him a bit undersized. Obviously this wouldn’t be an issue for the Houston Rockets considering their full commitment to small ball, but it’s possible Llull knows how much tougher the NBA will be for him.
We’ve seen international players leave the NBA in favor of international ball, such as Nikola Mirotic, Alex Abrines, Rudy Fernandez, and former Houston Rockets players Carlos Delfino and Donatas Motiejunas. These players have thrived upon returning to the Euroleague, and it’s possible they benefited from a much tougher NBA.
It’s also possible that Llull has realized that he can still get paid a ton without even playing in the NBA, as we know the contracts overseas have been rising over time. Llull is making $2.2 million annually, which makes him the eighth-highest paid player in the European league. In addition, Llull has already amassed a net worth of upto $10 million, which certainly explains his lack of interest in the NBA.
Llull signed a six-year contract extension back in 2015 which contains a buyout of $12 million, meaning it would cost the Rockets that much to bring him to Houston. Even if Llull was interested in joining the Rockets, it would be quite difficult to justify paying such a hefty bill for his services.
Next: No. 2