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NBA Rumors: Fran Vázquez Open to Joining Orlando Magic, Won't Rule Out Barcelona

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Matthias Kern - Getty Images Sport
Matthias Kern - Getty Images Sport

Fran Vázquez, widely considered to be the best center in Europe, hasn't ruled out joining the Orlando Magic when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012, reports the Spanish publication Diario Sur.

"Have you made the decision?" asked Juan Calderón of Vázquez, referring to whether he'll remain overseas or move to the NBA. "I don't rule out anything," Vázquez responded, "and want to finish the season in Barcelona winning two titles."

Orlando selected Vázquez with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft with the expectation that he would sign immediately and pair with second-year center Dwight Howard to form one of the NBA's most talented young front lines, but Vázquez surprised the team by electing to stay in Spain, where he's remained in the years since. Now 29, Vázquez could make the jump to the NBA.

Vázquez could have joined the NBA prior to the 2011/12 season, but uncertainty about the lockout deterred him. "His contract was up and we were hoping to get him, but he has to look after his own interests," said Sam Foggin, the Magic's Director of International Scouting, told Woody Wommack of the Naples Daily News last June. "He signed a one-year deal with Barcelona, and we're hoping that in a year's time we can come to terms with Fran. He wants to come. He was committed to come, but for reasons outside of our control it didn't work out." Foggin also noted that Vázquez rejected a multi-year offer from Barcelona, which he termed a "rare" occurrence.

Vázquez is averaging 4.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocked shots in 13.5 minutes per game for FC Barcelona Regal in the 2011/12 Euroleague campaign, shooting 61.5 percent from the floor. In Spain's Liga ACB, Vázquez posted 5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 15.5 minutes.

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