Joel Freeland Signs Deal With Trail Blazers

July 14 2012 at 3:44pm CDT By Luke Adams

SATURDAY, 3:44pm: The team has announced the signing is official (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). 

WEDNESDAY, 9:30pm: Freeland is expected to sign his deal Thursday or Friday, according to Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune (Twitter link). 

1:06pm: Freeland's agent, Rafa Calvo, confirmed to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian that his client and the Blazers are close to a deal and that a buyout with Freeland's Spanish club is in the works (Twitter links). Freeman adds that Freeland and Calvo are trying to negotiate a lower buyout so that Freeland won't have to pay 1MM euros himself (Twitter links).

9:48am: Freeland's three-year, $9MM deal is contingent on getting his buyout finalized with Unicaja Malaga, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. However, it doesn't appear that will be a major obstacle.

8:36am: Ian Whittell of the Wardle Whittell Agency passes along word, via Spanish reports, that Freeland has agreed to a three-year, $9MM deal with the Trail Blazers (Twitter link). We'll wait for confirmation, but it appears Freeland is a good bet to join the Blazers soon.

8:10am: Unicaja Malaga officially announced that Freeland has asked to leave the club for the Trail Blazers, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The buyout for the British forward is still being negotiated.

7:50am: The 2006 draft was an eventful one for the Trail Blazers, who came away with two of the best players of the class in LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Six years later, another of the team's first-round picks appears poised to finally head to Portland. According to a Tubasket.com report (translation via Sportando), Joel Freeland will buy out his contract with Spain's Unicaja Malaga and head stateside to sign a deal with the Trail Blazers.

Tubasket's report indicates that Freeland has informed Malaga of his decision, and that his buyout will be worth about 1.5MM euros. The 6'11" forward averaged 12.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game over 31 contests in Spain's ACB League in 2011/12, according to DraftExpress.

When a player signs with a team holding his draft rights more than three years after the draft, he can sign for either the rookie scale amount on a four-year deal or for a larger salary on at least a three-year deal. Tubasket suggests Freeland will sign for three years, which makes sense given his large buyout and the Trail Blazers' free cap space. If Freeland were to sign for 120% of the rookie scale amount for the 30th overall pick, he'd be in line for just a $1.02MM first-year salary.

Portland GM Neil Olshey spoke in late June about meeting with Freeland and watching him in international play, and indicated there was mutual interest between the team and the 25-year-old. Victor Claver is also expected to leave his Spanish club and sign with the Blazers this offseason.

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