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Olympics problem as Aussie NBA veteran axed by team

Australian basketball great Chris Anstey says veteran NBA star Patty Mills should head to Europe to prepare for the Olympics after being axed by the Atlanta Hawks months out from the Games.

Mills, 35, was waved by the Hawks a day before the NBA’s March 1 buyout deadline, giving him the chance to sign with another team, but is currently without a team before he leads the Boomers in the quest for another Olympic medal.

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The star guar, who steered the Boomers to a historic bronze medal in Tokyo, has played in just 19 of Atlanta’s 58 games so far this season.

Mills’s uncertain future comes amid other issues for the Boomers in the NBA with New Orleans’s Dyson Daniels facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines with a knee injury and Dante Exum just returning to the court after injuries slowed his return in Dallas.

Anstey, who finished his career in Europe after the NBA, said such a move could help Mills ahead of the Games.

“This could be a really interesting few months for Patty Mills,” Anstey said on social media platform X.

“Taking a high level, high opportunity European contract to finish the European season could be the best preparation for his final Olympic Games.”

Mills has played 15 seasons in the NBA for a total of 879 career games, and arrived at the Hawks after trades from Brooklyn to Houston and Oklahoma City.

He spent a decade at the San Antonio Spurs, where he won an NBA championship, and maintains a close relationship with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Mills could still get a short-term deal to finish the season with a playoff-contending team in the NBA.

But failure to land another NBA contract could mean the end of the road in the US.

Mills has previously spoken about potentially finishing his career back home with a stint in the NBL.

The 35-year-old, who steered the Boomers to a historic bronze medal in Tokyo, has played in just 19 of Atlanta’s 58 games so far this season.

He arrived at the Hawks after trades from Brooklyn to Houston, Oklahoma City and then the Hawks during a wild off-season last year.