Former Lottery Pick Fran Vazquez Announces Retirement

MAY 7: Vazquez has officially announced his retirement, as detailed in a press release from his team, Basket Zaragoza. He’ll officially end his playing career at the end of the current season, whether or not it can be resumed.

MAY 5: Spanish big man Fran Vazquez has decided to call it a career, according to reports from Spanish-language outlets and (hat tip to HoopsHype). Vazquez is currently under contract with Basket Zaragoza in Spain, but reportedly won’t continue playing beyond this season.

A EuroLeague veteran, Vazquez is likely best known to NBA fans for being selected 11th overall in the 2005 draft by the Magic. Despite being a lottery pick, Vazquez opted to remain overseas when he was drafted — and for the rest of his professional career. Orlando has held Vazquez’s draft rights for nearly 15 years, but never got the opportunity to sign him to an NBA contract.

Instead, Vazquez thrived for a number of teams in Spain for the last decade-and-a-half, spending much of his career with FC Barcelona and Unicaja. The center, who turned 37 last Friday, won a EuroLeague championship in 2010 and three Spanish League titles – in 2009, 2011, and 2012 – with Barcelona.

Since the current iteration of the EuroLeague was launched in 2000/01, Vazquez is the league’s overall leader in blocked shots, with 249. He’s also the all-time leader in total blocks in the Spanish League.

While we’ve known for years that Vazquez was almost certainly never going to come stateside, his retirement will officially close the book on that possibility. For now, the Magic continue to hold his NBA rights, but the team will likely end up renouncing them at some point down the road.

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