Patty Mills has reportedly signed to play in Turkey with powerful club Anadolu Efes, alongside the just-announced Ersan Ilyasova.
Whilst the signing of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ forward Ilyasova has been officially announced on the team website, the agreement to terms by Aussie point guard Mills has only been picked up by Sportando after a tweet by @TurkishHoops (who was on the money with the Ilyasova news).
It is not clear as to out-clauses for both players should the NBA lockout end, however my google-translated reading of the Andalou press-release is that Ilyasova’s one-year deal allows him to leave as soon as the lockout ends (which makes sense given that he has a year remaining on his Bucks contract — of course, players such as Nick Van Exel, Marcus Camby and Reggie Slater have in the past attempted to rule their contracts invalid as a result of lockout). I imagine that the same applies to Mills’ one-year contract, as he looks to continue his career in the NBA — particularly with the Portland Trail Blazers who have made a qualifying offer to him.
There was rumour-mongering amongst Australian basketball circles that Mills was in talks with various NBL teams, including those with room in the Adelaide 36ers, Cairns Taipans and Wollongong Hawks, however there was always a low likelihood that any team could afford to pay him a market salary.
To their credit, Basketball Australia publicly pushed this angle, saying that they would support the return of Mills to Australia in any way possible, realising the huge benefit he would draw to the sport locally. Mills had always maintained that if the lockout looked likely, he would consider options in Europe and Australia, although the latter was probably a complimentary gesture which he knew had little chance of eventuating.
The signings are huge for Andalou Efes, giving them two NBA-tested players to add to the signing earlier this summer of Sasha Vujacic to a one-plus-a-player-option deal. They were pursuing Keyon Dooling prior to this. Fellow Turkish team Besiktas has already secured NBA All-Star Deron Williams and has been reportedly talking to Kobe Bryant as NBA players continue to shore up their income streams with the lockout looking lengthier by the day.