In 2009, the Houston Rockets purchased the rights to Sergio Llull, the 34th overall selection, from the Denver Nuggets for approximately $2.25million. This made Llull the most expensive player to ever be selected in the NBA’s second round. The Rockets clearly feel highly about him.
In the summer of 2010, Llull reached an agreement with Real Madrid to extend his contract until 2014.
Llull is one of the top point guards in Europe and by all accounts, an athletic specimen. Here’s video of Rockets VP of Basketball Operations Sam Hinkie breaking down Llull’s game. The average fan probably hasn’t heard about him, but die-hards are wondering when, if ever, he’ll come over and bring his talents to the local team.
I decided to ask Ricky Rubio who starred with Llull on the Spanish national team. Here’s a clip of Rubio tossing Llull an alleyoop, a great example of some of the athleticism I had mentioned.
You can’t read too much into the clip, but Rubio’s last comment was interesting. I’m not even sure what to make of it. Is he projecting his own thoughts or letting us in on Llull’s mindset? Luis Scola didn’t care; he was in a similar situation but wanted to come to the NBA at all costs to face the challenge. Might Llull want to remain abroad in the comfort of known shores and an established role? Vassilis Spanoulis preferred it that way.
Regardless, the Rockets probably wouldn’t have brought over Llull anyway next summer. While I’m not privy to the specifics, his buyout will be expensive and they hope to make use of their cap space in other ways. (Remember that teams under the salary cap do not enjoy the luxury of their exceptions.)
I usually only post my own questions, but this exchange between Rubio and NBA.com’s Fran Blinebury was pretty humorous.
Lastly, I asked Rubio about the difference between this season and last. (Recall that he struggled mightily causing many to wonder if he could cut it in the NBA.) I’m not sure if he was just tired–he had been taking questions for literally fifteen minutes before that–or offended by the question. I tried to frame it politely but I was basically asking why he sucked last year.
That’s all for today. By the time I got done with Rubio, Kevin Love and Beasley had already finished. I’ll be back at Toyota Center again on Monday. I hope to get some time with Steve Nash and Grant Hill.