Celtics

Celtics

There was little doubt that Gigi Datome would garner lots of interest from teams in Europe when he became a free agent this past summer.

But there were other NBA teams besides the Boston Celtics – the last team he played for – that wanted to keep the 27-year-old in the NBA.

And most of the teams had some Celtics connection as well.

Datome, speaking to La Gazzetta della Sport, said the Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers all offered him a contract this summer.

The Mavericks are coached by former Celtic guard Rick Carlisle and the Clippers are coached by former Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

“During the summer I had good offers from Clippers, Mavericks and Wizards but I did not see a lot of playing time for me with them so I decided to return to Europe,” Datome told the publication. “I got proposals from Russia to Spain, Italy and Turkey.”

Ultimately Datome decided to sign with Fenerbahce Ulker which finished fourth in Euroleague play last season.

Datome came to the NBA with lots of accolades, praise and championships but didn’t enjoy nearly as much success in the NBA. Still, he hasn’t totally ruled out returning to the NBA someday.

“Maybe I will try to return to the NBA,” Datome said. “Who knows?”

In his two seasons in the NBA, Datome struggled to get on the floor and when he did his impact was minimal.

But after a February trade from Detroit to Boston, Datome had moments in which you could see why he was at one point considered one of the best players in Europe.

In 18 games with the Celtics, he averaged 5.2 points and shot 47.2 percent on 3s. The 18 games with Boston saw him total 94 points which was equal to the points he scored with the Detroit Pistons in more than twice (37) as many games.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was among the many fans of Datome’s game.

“He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen,” Stevens said during Datome’s time as a Celtic.

However, Boston did not make him an offer to return despite his strength – shooting – being something they need more of going forward.

Part of the thinking with that had to do with James Young whose potential growth would have likely been stymied to some extent by the presence of Datome on the roster.

And that’s assuming Datome would have wanted to come back. While he repeatedly said he enjoyed his time in Boston, there was no mistaking the fact that the 6-8 forward wanted a chance to go somewhere that would allow him to play and have a chance at winning at a high level.

Still, that doesn’t take away from the strong connection he made with the Celtics in a very short period of time.

“I really like him," Stevens told reporters last season. "We (Celtics organization) really like him."