Friday , Jul , 29 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Vazquez to reign in Spain?

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Orlando Magic top pick Fran Vazquez wants to
continue his playing career in Spain rather than suit up for the NBA team next
season.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic had not spoken personally to
Vazquez but only to his European agent, Jose Cobelo, as of Thursday evening.

Vazquez, who has a buyout clause in his European contract, was selected 11th
overall in June’s NBA Draft. He was the first European player taken in the
draft and was slated to earn big bucks under the current salary scale. A new
collective bargaining agreement between the league and players’ union is
scheduled to be implemented next week.

“The message we’ve been getting all along — before the draft, after the draft
— was that he was excited about playing here,” Magic assistant GM Dave
Twardzik said on the team’s website. “He said it was his dream to play in the
NBA. I don’t know (what changed his mind). When you draft an international
player, something like this is always possible.”

For example, Manu Ginobili of the NBA champion Spurs was drafted by San
Antonio in 1999, but didn’t play his first season until three years later.

The 6-10, 229-pound Vazquez averaged 12.8 points per contest with Unicaja
Malaga of the ACB League.

“I don’t know if he’ll change his decision, but we’ll put our best foot
forward,” Twardzik added. “We’re pretty connected with some of the American
players there and they all said it was Fran’s dream to play in the NBA. Those
guys said Fran was constantly picking their brains about how tough the NBA was
and what it was like to live in the United States. It’s frustrating.”

ORL