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 Encestando.es and Heraldo.es (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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23 thoughts on “Former Lottery Pick Fran Vazquez Announces Retirement

  1. nentwigs

    Great use of the 11th overall pick !!
    Perhaps somebody with the Orlando Magic should have like spoken to this clown on his career plans BEFORE wasting the 11th overall draft pick on a player who NEVER INTENDED ON PLAYING IN THE NBA !!

      • nentwigs

        The point being, if you read the post, was whether or not someone from the Orlando Magic even spoke to this man with regard to his future plans BEFORE using the 11th overall pick on him !!

        • x%sure

          You referred to Vazquez as a clown, but in your interpretation, the Orlandans are.
          This standoff happens a lot in baseball, where a teenager has to choose between college ball or the minors, and drafting rights only last a year. Teams can get burned, though the stakes are lower. I’m sure they talk it out!

    • kylewait89

      They originally traded the pick to land T-Mac soooooo, not the worst thing in the world.

    • redmatt

      Hmm…what made this guy a clown exactly? I think he got paid to play basketball where he wanted to and made a lot of money doing it.

      • nentwigs

        The “clown” reference that I directed to VAZQUEZ was inappropriate.
        Assuming that he never gave any assurances to the Magic and/or was never consulted by the Magic with regard to his future plans prior to being drafted. The actual clown/clowns were members of the Magic administration.

        • drchilmrichalds

          I remember reading articles back at the time when he was drafted and he was getting $3mil euros a year, tax free, plus a free apartment and car. The NBA rookie deal structure didn’t allow for Orlando to make as nearly as competitive of an offer as his euro team did.

  2. rxbrgr

    HR – How do rights for unsigned draft picks work once they’ve retired? Are they still able to be used in a trade, and/or (in Vazquez’s case) do they still have their cap hold count temporarily on the books?

    • Luke Adams

      My understanding is that his rights could still be used in a trade, but NOT as the only incoming/outgoing piece in a trade (in that case, the player would have to have a non-zero chance of playing in the NBA). Since there’s now no reason for Vazquez’s rights to be included in a trade EXCEPT to meet those incoming/outgoing rules, I don’t imagine he’ll be dealt.

      Not 100% sure about the cap hold issue. It’s generally been a perfunctory move that’s done on July 1 anyway, so it’s not like it’d ever be an actual hindrance to any of their offseason business. But if they do have to keep removing the hold every year, I don’t see any reason for them not to just renounce him.

  3. stevep-4

    Yes. His rights will certainly be retained for use in some salary cap reducing trade in the future. Bulls still own rights to some dude from the early 90s. As long as they are alive, rights can be traded.

  4. hiflew

    I don’t think any player’s NBA career has been hurt by being dunked on more than this guy being faced by Vince Carter. That dunk basically ruined all chances for him in the NBA. It killed his mystique.

  5. Ironmonger835

    Why was this piece of crap in the draft if he had no plans of ever coming over?

    • Steven Juris

      Wow what a smart statement are you 2 or are you extremely immature? He was eligible for the draft and has talent so he got drafted. Amazing how it works even a 3yr old can figure it out.

    • drchilmrichalds

      He’s 37. 15 years ago he was 22 and thus automatically draft eligible and did not need to declare his eligibility or interest in being drafted.

    • I know, right? Makes me sooo angry….aaaaarrrggghh! Stupid player not signing a NBA contract in all this time. How can that guy be this stupid to let himself be drafted and then not come over to play? Is he really that self assured and complacent with his life to not devote himself to serving the interests of the Magic above all other concerns? You dumb dumb, Fran!

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