Great Britain international Pops Mensah-Bonsu is ready to turn his back on the NBA for good after being released by the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
The 6’9” Londoner only began his second stint with the league’s sole Canadian club three months ago but saw his stay curtailed for financial reasons.
It remains possible that, under the NBA’s collective bargaining rules, Mensah-Bonsu could be offered a new cut-price deal by Toronto as soon as next week. However with lucrative offers already on hand from teams in Spain and Russia, the ex-Hackney forward is hinting that he will head home to Europe and give up his trans-Atlantic dream.
“If I can go over there and have the type of season I had in the D-League last year, then I will definitely raise the eyebrows of some teams and look to get a more established contract, rather than always looking over my shoulder with a non-guaranteed contract or taking a short-term deal,” Mensah-Bonsu told The Fan 590.
“I’m definitely looking to put myself in a better position financially and then as a player too. I’m 26-years-old now. This is pretty much how my NBA career has gone. I had a short time in Dallas, an even shorter time in San Antonio. Same with Houston and Toronto too. It’s wearing thin sometimes.
“As a player who plays based on confidence, it’s tough to keep bouncing back. But I’m a resilient guy. It’s not going to stop me from proving myself in the NBA but sometimes you’ve got to take your family into consideration and do what’s best for them.”
With his playing time with the Raptors declining in recent weeks, Mensah-Bonsu’s exit was not unexpected despite his popularity with the team’s fan base. And although he has received an approach from another NBA team, the priority – he claims – is to play out this season on the court rather than from the sidelines.
“I’m going to weigh up my options and if I see a (NBA) team come up with an offer in the next couple of days that gives me a chance to play, then maybe I’ll take it,” he added. “If I see a situation that is just me being the 13th or 14th guy on the bench, then I’ll probably head back over to Europe.”
Listen to the full interview here.