Barcelona has a closed agreement with Kevin Punter

Barcelona has a closed agreement with Kevin Punter

A year ago, Kevin Punter was Juan Carlos Navarro's top target for Barcelona, ​​but the American goalkeeper's last-minute scare ended a process in which there had already been a verbal agreement. FC Barcelona have returned to the fray in recent weeks, and this time seems to be for the better. Punter, for whom Partizan has not closed the exit door, has committed to Barcelona and all that remains for him is to pass the medical to make his signing official.

Hours earlier, it emerged on Friday that Barcelona had signed Mario Hezonja. It remains to be seen whether FC Barcelona will complete the two additions or one will fall by the wayside.

The 30-year-old, 1.93-metre-tall Punter is one of the most important outside scorers in European basketball, having arrived eight years ago from Greek side Lavrio. In the last three seasons he played with Partizan but before that he played in the Final Four with Armani Milan (losing in the semi-final to Barcelona in 2021) and began to stand out in the Euroleague at Olympiacos (2019) and Estrella Roja (2019-). 20).

In the season now ending, Punter finished eighth on the EuroLeague scoring list with an average of 15 points, to which he added averages of 2.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 rebounds and 14.2 efficiency. He was the MVP of Round 15, scoring 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a rating of 25 against Valencia.

Punter will sign a multi-year contract that will make him one of Barcelona's highest-paid players, netting just over €2m, a similar sum to what he earned at Partizan. The Belgrade club, who had another year on his contract with him, let him leave because it provided good money that would allow him to undertake a significant restructuring of his team.

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Punter's arrival gives Barcelona an image of a player it did not have, as an outlet at the end of the game, what the Americans call a “clutch player”. Juan Carlos Navarro has longed for years for a player with these characteristics, capable of not giving up in the most important matches and resolving the difficult-to-finish duels through individual talent and courage. Initially, the inclusion of the player's profile was rejected because he did not like Sarunas Jasikevicius, and last year, without the Lithuanian on the bench, Barcelona went for Ponter but the process failed at the last second. Having already secured the player's approval, he backed down after a last-ditch financial effort from Partizan and a meeting with coach Zeljko Obradovic. Barcelona had to redesign the “regeneration plan” for the post-Saras era and began betting as the cornerstone of the project on a center with experience in the NBA and the Spanish national team such as Willy Hernangomez.

Punter's arrival, in principle, seems to cause an increase in the number of external players in the squad, with two other goalkeepers such as Nico Laprovittola and Dario Brizuela also having contracts (both expiring in 2026). In addition, Satoransky played “two” in many games last season, especially since the arrival of Ricky Rubio. It will be necessary to see whether Punter's arrival will lead to a reassignment of roles or, who knows, the departure of a contract player.

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Oliver Walton

"Pro alcohol addict. Bacon scholar. Award-winning beer fan. Gamer. Social media expert. Zombie guru."

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