After two consecutive summers of teasing, it finally feels like we’ll get a definitive answer on Vasilije Micic’s NBA aspirations this offseason.
Momentum continues to build towards the 29-year-old finally making the NBA jump. The interest level was always there for Micic over the years as he’s developed into one of the best international players since being drafted in 2014. Still, a recent visit to OKC has raised some eyebrows.
The 2021 EuroLeague MVP met with the Thunder in a visit on June 19 — two days after Anadolu Efes’ season ended. This was the first time Micic met with the Thunder in person after owning his draft rights for over two years.
On Saturday, Micic’s interest level escalated. Following the rookie introductory press conference, Thunder general manager Sam Presti spoke about Micic’s visit and the possibility of him signing with OKC.
“I don’t really have anything specific I can get into right now. He was obviously here, which is great because it’s been something we wanted — to have him on sight at some point — but he’s such an accomplished player. He’s always playing in a tournament or a national team or deep into the summer, but it was great,” Presti told reporters following the presser. “We know him very well. He’s got a great relationship with our organization. But it was really nice to spend some time with him while he was on our soil and it was great. But I couldn’t tell you exactly what that means as of yet.”
Later on in the day, Efes general manager Alper Yilmaz also confirmed Micic’s genuine desire to join the NBA.
“We are following the developments after yesterday’s draft. Micic really wants to go to the NBA,” Yilmaz said. “He has an option on his contract until July 20. I don’t know if he will make another request. We are waiting for Micic for now.”
Sportal’s Christos Tsaltas later also confirmed Micic’s very real aspiration to join the NBA this offseason, stating he believes the 29-year-old is willing to come down on his previous expectations of a guaranteed rotation spot with a championship contender.
Considering Micic’s history of using the NBA as leverage in contract negotiations, it’s hard to fully believe this until it actually happens — but it feels more real now than ever. With that said though, him joining the NBA and joining the Thunder are two separate conversations.
It’s unknown what Micic’s interest levels are when it comes to playing for the Thunder, but his visit to OKC and his relationship with the front office seem like positive signs.
The roster fit is a different question though — at 29 years old, Micic seems a bit too old for this current Thunder timeline. There’s no question he’d immediately be one of the Thunder’s best players, but is his immediate production worth sacrificing the development of some of the other players on the roster?
Nonetheless, if Micic is truly ready to join the NBA, then he will more than likely get his wish granted. If the Thunder deems the fit to be a bit too difficult, then trade interest should ideally materialize. The 29-year-old is one of the most decorative players in the entire world that’s not currently in the NBA. He could immediately contribute to a contender.
There still’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding Micic, but it’s quite evident we’re reaching a fork in the road when it comes to him ever playing in the NBA after being drafted 52nd overall in the second round of the 2014 draft.
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Source: Yahoo Sports