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Fran Vazquez re-signed with FC Barcelona on Tuesday afternoon, keeping him out of the NBA for at least the next two seasons. When he's next a free agent, Vazquez will be 30. The Orlando Magic, who own his rights after selecting him 11th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, will have to look elsewhere to address their need for a center to back-up Dwight Howard this season.
Orlando, which played most of last season without a true backup center after trading Marcin Gortat in December, had courted Vazquez throughout the offseason, making it clear it'd like to have him join the team. The largest obstacle for signing Vazquez now is the pending expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. With no cap space to sign him prior to its expiration and no idea what the next CBA might allow, or when it will be finished, the Magic's chances of landing him were dim at best.
Vazquez is regarded as the best center in Europe, averaging 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1 block in EuroLeague play last season, shooting 65.3 percent from the field. His athleticism makes him an excellent pick-and-roll finisher, not unlike Gortat. He'd assuredly make an impact in the NBA right away.
UPDATE: In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Jose Cobelo, Vazquez's agent, says Vazquez will consider signing with Orlando after his new contract with FC Barcelona expires. Cobelo also explained why joining the Magic this summer wasn't a possibility for Vazquez:
"The Magic, with the potential of a lockout, weren't a viable option for Fran," Cabelo said. "We don't know with any degree of certainty what the conditions would be or whether he'd get to play [any games because of the labor situation]."
If a lockout shortened or eliminated the forthcoming season, none of the players would be paid.