By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
Nikola Kalinic has officially returned to Crvena Zvezda by signing a two-year deal with the Serbian club. While there have been reports linking Nikola Kalinic to FC Barcelona, according to Eurohoops sources. Barcelona never presented him with an official offer, despite having a more than strong interest and also talks.
The fact that Kalinic was due to the Spanish “tanteo” rule a restricted free agent of Valencia, which should have been compensated by Barcelona, if Kalinic signed with the Catalans, further complicated things. On the contrary, Kalinic was an unrestricted free agent for all other countries, so he ultimately decided to return to the club where he had his break-out year in Europe back in the 2014-15 season for a deal that will pay him 1,2 million euros net per season.
Per EuroLeague Basketball:
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade added versatility and experience to its roster by inking forward Nikola Kalinic to a two-year deal, the club announced Thursday. Kalinic (2.02 meters, 29 years old) arrives from Valencia Basket, where he averaged 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 34 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games last season. He became the EuroLeague MVP for February 2021, averaging 15.3 points, 5.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals for a 21.3 PIR in that month. Kalinic led his team in scoring, assists, and performance index rating to help knock off CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid, and Zenit St Petersburg, and was the first Valencia player to receive this award.
Kalinic joined Valencia from Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, where he averaged 6.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 26 games in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in the 2019-20 season. Kalinic spent the previous five seasons with the Turkish powerhouse, winning the 2017 EuroLeague title and reaching the 2016, 2018, and 2019 Final Fours as well. In 200 EuroLeague games, the Serbian wing has averaged 7.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
Kalinic started his professional basketball career with Serbian side Subotica and also played at Novi Sad, Radnicki, and Zvezda, the latter with which he made his EuroLeague debut in the 2014-15 campaign before moving to Fenerbahce the following season. He won the 2015 Serbian league and cup double as well as the Adriatic League title and also claimed three Turkish League crowns and three Turkish Cup trophies. Kalinic also is a regular with the Serbian national team and won silver at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Olympics.