By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
Oklahoma City Thunder swingman Alex Abrines appeared critical of the way his former team Barcelona is handling the delicate matter of whether team captain Juan Carlos Navarro will stay with the Blaugrana in the next season.
While so far Barcelona hasn’t included 38-year-old Navarro in the plans for 2018-2019, the player himself has said that he’d like to continue with the team for another season. And Abrines, who was Navarro’s teammate for four seasons before joining the Thunder in 2016, believes that “La Bomba’s” wishes should be at least respected.
“Well, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him. The only thing I can tell you is that he wants to continue playing. I don’t know what the club thinks or what they will offer Juan Carlos but it makes me sad how it’s ending. He is the best Spanish player in history, removing Pau and maybe Marc, and he doesn’t deserve this. I would like him to continue for a year until he can retire with his head held high and winning some titles”, Abrines said when being told that Navarro might not be a part of Barcelona next season, during an interview with Marca.
Navarro, the EuroLeague all-time scoring and PIR leader, two-time champion and 2010 Final Four MVP, has seen his beloved Barcelona struggling in the competition these last two seasons. The team that once was a bona fide contender and Final Four staple, hadn’t managed to even qualify to the playoffs in 2017 and 2018 while also failing to see any major domestic success, apart from the 2018 Copa Del Rey and 2015 SuperCup titles.
While a negotiation between the management of Barcelona and Navarro regarding his possible retirement is reportedly in the works, the legendary Spaniard isn’t eager to hang his shoes yet. Following a loss to Baskonia in Game 4 of the Spanish ACB semifinals and the elimination in the series, Navarro mentioned that he “doesn’t want to go out like this” and that his goal is to be part of a new and “competitive” squad of Barcelona in EuroLeague.
Navarro signed a ten-year contract with Barcelona in 2017 with the purpose of staying with the club with a different role following his retirement. According to that deal, the two sides were to discuss whether Navarro will continue playing, following the completion of 2017-2018 or assuming another position in the organization.
Navarro has been playing with Barcelona for the entirety of his 20-year professional career, minus the 2007-2008 season which he spent in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Photo: FC Barcelona