The Rockets are ready to offer Spanish guard Sergio Llull a contract for next season, reports Encestando.es and NBC Sports. Houston appears willing to offer a three-year deal worth $17 million.
Llull was a drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 34th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Rockets purchased his rights for $2.25 million dollars -- making Llull the most expensive rights purchase ever in the second round of the NBA draft. Houston's previous attempts to woo Llull to the NBA over the years have been unsuccessful.
Rockets general manager Darryl Morey spoke with Llull and his agent already this month:
Daryl Morey was in Madrid two weeks ago and spoke with Llull and his agent about this possibility. Llull is under contract with Real Madrid until 2019 and there's a very high buyout on the deal, at least 4.5 mln.
As a member of the Spanish National team, Llull averaged 5.6 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 1 assist per game during the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Llull has spent the last eight club seasons with Real Madrid, winning two titles. In 2015, he is starting at shooting guard for Real and averaging 11 points, 3 assists, and 1.6 rebounds per game.
If the Rockets were able to sign Llull, he would join fellow European import Kostas Papanikolaou. Papanikolaou joined Houston before the 2014-2015 season on two-year contract worth $ 9.6 million, after being drafted in the 2012 draft. The Rockets have a team option for him next year, so he could be a free agent and, theoretically, replaced on the roster by Llull.