ROBERT Archibald accepts his NBA dream is finally over after turning down interest from the New Orleans Hornets for a two-year contract with ACB outfit Malaga.
But his League MVP season with Ukranian champs Mariupol was enough to convince Unicaja that Arch was worth a two-year investment.
And faced with the chance of a guarantee with one of Europe’s leading lights, Archibald had a simple choice to make.
He told Basketball 24/7: “I had been planning on summer league and New Orleans was really interested. It seemed I was going to have a good opportunity to make their team.
“That seemed like a great situation but then the Malaga thing came up two or three weeks ago. In fact, I had offers come in from four teams in Spain but, obviously, Malaga was the most attractive out of them.
“So, I had to choose between taking a shot through summer league and taking a guaranteed contract in Europe. Playing with Malaga, one of the top five or ten places to play in Europe, it was kind of a no-brainer.
“Still, it was tough to pass on the NBA!”
But his NBA career amounts to no more than 44 games, despite Archibald having a rock solid reputation Stateside. (Earlier this year, San Antonio GM R.C. Buford told me Archibald was one of his favourite all-time players because of his attitude and work rate).
Now, with his rep in Europe soaring sky-high, it seems unlikely that Archibald will ever be able to return to play in the US because it would involve a large gamble or drop in salary.
He explained: “New Orleans wanted to see me play summer league and get to know me a bit. They said if I went and played well they would offer me a guaranteed contract.
“But Malaga offered me a two-year contract. I was kind of pushing for that longer term deal to take some of the doubt out of every summer.
“If I played really well these two years and something came up from the NBA at the end of it then we would see, but I think this is probably the end of the NBA for me. I knew that when I signed this deal but it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“I have no regrets about that because I really enjoy playing in Europe. The NBA would have been easier in terms of living in the States but I really enjoy the European style of game.
“Also, I’m obviously able to play more and be more of a factor. And, based on my own experiences, there is a lot better dynamic with guys over here, they get along with each other on the team. I enjoy Europe very much.”