By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
American combo guard Mike James will sign a guaranteed contract with the Phoenix Suns. It’s a deal that takes him away from Europe, where he’s spent the entirety of his career so far, and materializes his dream of playing in the NBA.
The news were first reported by Greek radio station Sport – FM. James wanted to first notify Panathinaikos of his decision as a courtesy to the team with which he finished the season and wanted to keep him for two more years.
But that won’t be the case since he’s now NBA-bound.
Apart from the pretty good offer to stay with the Greens James had also turned down Olimpia Milano in order to extensively pursue his NBA opportunities. His season in EuroLeague (13.1 points, 3 assists, 2.2 rebounds per game) had attracted the attention of various teams but it was the Suns that ultimately gave him the guaranteed contract he was looking for.
James has been known as one of the fastest, most explosive and nearly impossible to defend on “1 vs 1” situations, hoopers around the continent. Attributes which will arguably serve him well in his new venture as well.
He finished the season with Panathinaikos winning the Greek Cup and League titles. In the last match of the season, the decisive Game 5 of the Finals vs arch-rival Olympiacos, he notched 11 points, 10 rebounds plus 7 assists leading his team to victory and the championship.
Over the course of his career in Europe, James also played for KK Zagreb, Gilboa Galil, Paffoni Omegna Kolossos Rhodes and Baskonia. It was with the latter that he debuted in EuroLeague and began making an impression at the highest level of continental basketball, also reaching the 2016 Final Four.