Nikola Mirotic stated that he turned down a three-year guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz last summer because he was no longer happy in the NBA.
Mirotic ended up signing with Barcelona.
“I wanted to spend free agency while on vacation in Greece with my family. Utah wanted to have a meeting on June 30 to sign me as the first player in free agency. They offered me three years guaranteed, a great contract. I spoke to my wife and she told me to take what made me happy. I took a ticket for two days, a round trip, and I left.
"I was waiting at the gate of the Thessaloniki airport when I started to think: ‘What do I do at the airport? Why am I not with my family? The NBA?’. I said to myself: ‘Don’t do it Niko. If you go, you will sign.’ I left the airport and went back to the hotel. I told my agent that I wasn’t going to catch the flight and to apologize to Utah for not attending the meeting. “I’m going to take another path, I don’t want to continue in the NBA," said Mirotic.
Mirotic added that he returned to Europe to rediscover his joy for the game.
"My role was always the same [in the NBA]. I was a player who was open to take the shots, who made a ‘pick-and-pop’ among the big guys… I was expected to score 10 points, take a couple of rebounds and that’s it. I felt that time was passing and I had not played the best basketball of my life, although it was very good. As soon as I didn’t feel that joy and happiness to improve, I said it was time to go back and do something bigger in Europe."