Houston Rockets fans have long been waiting for Spanish National Team star guard Sergio Llull to make his NBA debut. The Rockets remain hopeful that his long anticipated debut will finally come next season.
The Rockets, I'm told, are hopeful Llull will join them next season. It's been the Spaniard's choice to stay home to date; Houston wants him
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 4, 2016
The Denver Nuggets originally drafted Llull with the 34th pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft. However, Houston bought his draft rights from Denver for approximately $2.25 million. That’s the most money ever spent to purchase the rights of a player that was drafted in the second round.
Despite getting drafted, Llull has remained in Spain, playing for Real Madrid in the EuroLeague for his entire career. He began playing for Real Madrid in 2007 when he was just 19 years old.
In 2014-15, Llull helped Real Madrid win both the EuroLeague and the Spanish League championship. Real Madrid also won the King’s Cup, which gave them the triple crown in European basketball. It was the third time in club history and first time since 1973-74 that Real Madrid won the European basketball triple crown.
Llull has also been a stalwart on the Spanish National Team. He won the gold medal at the 2004 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship and then the silver at the 2007 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. Furthermore, he helped Spain win silver and bronze at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, respectively.
But his most memorable feat might have happened just a few days ago. In a preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Llull hit a game-tying buzzer beater 3-pointer that helped lift Real Madrid over Oklahoma City in overtime.
In 2015, Llull signed a contract extension with Real Madrid through the 2020-21 season, so if he is going to play with the Rockets next season, they will have to work something out with his Spanish team.