Fran Vazquez

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.

Eastern Notes: Lawson, Bulls, Collison, Sirvydis, Magic

The Celtics announced three additions to their coaching staff today, including the official hiring of Kara Lawson as their first-ever female assistant. A 13-year WNBA veteran and Olympic gold medal winner, she spent the past two seasons as the primary television analyst for the Wizards and covered games for ESPN Radio.

“This was a good fit,” Lawson said to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be challenged, I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be allowed to coach, and I wanted to go to an organization that was going to be playing in big games to be able to get a sense of that last frontier of coaching, which is being able to do it in pressure situations in the regular season and the playoffs.”

Also added to coach Brad Stevens’ staff were Brandon Bailey, who served as coach of the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine the past two seasons, and Joe Mazzulla, a former assistant with the Red Claws.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • It got lost in the shuffle of this week’s free agency frenzy, but according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), there was a belief in league circles that the Bulls were the frontrunners to sign Darren Collison before the free agent point guard unexpectedly announced his retirement.
  • The Bulls have added two new assistants to head coach Jim Boylen’s staff, according to a press release from the team. Chris Fleming announced in May that he was leaving the Nets to come to Chicago, and Roy Rogers, who recently parted ways with the Rockets, officially joined the team Wednesday. In addition, Karen Stack has been elevated to assistant coach, Paul Miller was named assistant to the head coach and former intern Chris Kent is the new video coordinator.
  • Deividas Sirvydis, who was selected by the Pistons with the 37th pick in the draft, will likely spend the upcoming season in Europe, tweets international basketball writer Donatas Urbonas. Rytas Vilnius GM Rolandas Jarutis expects to have the 6’8″ shooting guard back next season unless he has an outstanding performance with Detroit’s Summer League team. Sirvydis, 19, was MVP of the EuroLeague Basketball Next Generation Tournament in 2018.
  • The Magic have probably given up on Fran Vazquez ever coming to the NBA, but there was news this week on their 2005 draft pick, whose draft rights they still retain, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The 36-year-old re-signed with his Zaragoza team in Spain, so his cap hold will be removed from Orlando’s books for another season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Gordon, Isaac, Wizards

The Magic have a pile of intriguing, raw projects on board but the only way that those will help them win games this season is if the best among them – 22-year-old Aaron Gordon – takes the next step in his development.

As John Denton of the team’s official site writes, the Magic desperately need Gordon to take another big leap. He had a fantastic start to the 2017/18 season but didn’t finish as strong down the stretch.  They’ll also need him to prove that he can hold up over the course of a full season.

Sharing forward responsibilities with Gordon is sophomore Jonathan Isaac. The club, Denton writes, would be delighted if the 20-year-old could simply establish himself as a defensive force that runs the floor.

There’s more out of the Southeast tonight:

  • The Wizards may be the front runners to win their division, a Basketball Insiders panel concludes, but they’ll need the team to stay healthy and avoid any chemistry concerns. It will be on head coach Scott Brooks to balance all the skill sets and personalities on the payroll.
  • The Hornets will once again find themselves in NBA purgatory as it it’s still unclear whether the franchise aims to rebuild or make a desperate attempt to be competitive. Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders suspects that the next few months should shed light on what general manager Mitch Kupchak might be thinking.
  • Get a complete breakdown of the players whose draft rights are held by teams in the Southeast Division… but Magic fans, don’t hold your breath for that Fran Vazquez signing. We also have lists for the other five divisions.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Raptors, Nets, Vazquez

Ed Stefanski, the new head of basketball operations in Detroit, inherited a squad with most of its veteran players under contract through the 2018 offseason, but has still managed to remake a third of the Pistons‘ roster this summer, writes Keith Langlois of

While the Pistons added veterans like Glenn Robinson III, Jose Calderon, and Zaza Pachulia to the mix, Stefanski believes that the two new rookies – Bruce Brown and Khyri Thomas – are capable of making an immediate impact at the NBA level.

“I really believe that. They like to play defense,” said Stefanski, who technically holds the role of senior advisor for the Pistons. “They’re from good programs, they’re unbelievable kids and they want to play defense. Everywhere I’ve been, (rookies) never got on the floor because they didn’t play defense. These two want to. I like both of them.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • In his latest mailbag for The Toronto Star, Doug Smith answers readers’ questions relating to the end of DeMar DeRozan‘s time in Toronto, Kawhi Leonard‘s arrival, and many more Raptors-related topics.
  • As NetsDaily relays, Danny Leroux of RealGM and ESPN’s Kevin Pelton suggested on a recent podcast that the Nets have had a solid “volume” offseason, adding depth to their roster with a series of moves rather than targeting one or two impact players. In the view of Leroux and Pelton, Brooklyn could be a fringe playoff contender in the East, and may make a decision by the trade deadline on whether to once again be sellers.
  • Longtime Magic draft-and-stash player Fran Vazquez has signed yet another contract in Spain, according to Keith Smith of, who tweets that the veteran center is joining Tecnyconta Zaragoza. Vazquez was the 11th overall pick in the 2005 draft, but the 35-year-old has spent his entire professional career overseas.

Southeast Notes: Porter, Bogdanovic, Isaac, Bosh

The Kings’ decision to use a major part of their cap space on George Hill and Zach Randolph leaves the Nets as the most significant threat for Wizards RFA Otto Porter, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Porter met with the Kings on Sunday and reportedly received a max offer, but didn’t sign it, wanting to talk to other teams first. Sacramento’s moves today means it no longer has room for a max deal unless it unloads some other salary. The Wizards can match any offer sheet that Porter brings to them, and have stated that they plan to do so.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards plan to explore sign-and-trade options for Bojan Bogdanovic, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic appears to be on the way out after this week’s deals with Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott, but Washington won’t revoke his $4.7MM qualifying offer, hoping to deal him and create a traded player exception. Bogdanovic is reportedly seeking about $16MM per year, which seems unrealistic. Michael notes that the Wizards have made use of TPEs in the recent years, picking up Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries and Tim Frazier.
  • The Magic will hold first-round pick Jonathan Isaac out of the final two games of the Orlando Pro Summer League after he suffered a hip strain Monday, relays John Denton of Tests didn’t reveal any structural damage and the injury isn’t considered serious, but the Magic are keeping him sidelined as a precaution.
  • In a move to free up cap space, the Magic have reached an agreement with 2005 first-rounder Fran Vazquez that he won’t play in the NBA this season, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Orlando still owns the rights for the 34-year-old, and the move takes away his cap hold for the upcoming season.
  • The Heat are expected to end their seven-year relationship with Chris Bosh this week, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami will erase Bosh’s $52.1MM from its cap under a medical retirement in the wake of recurring blood clots. Bosh must be given 48 hours to clear waivers before the move becomes official, and it will push the Heat’s cap space from $9MM to more than $34MM this year.

Odds & Ends: Gordon, Cavaliers, Vazquez

Eric Gordon may have to win back some of the fans in New Orleans this year after comments he made about his "heart" already being in Phoenix and not wanting the Hornets to match after the Suns signed him to an offer sheet. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo elaborates on Gordon's thoughts throughout the free agency process and says that the Gordon is now committed to leading a young New Orleans team moving forward. Spears also says that the 6'3 guard has the ability to opt out after the third season and become an unrestricted free agent. Here's more of the miscellaneous tidbits what we've heard this evening..

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Odds & Ends: Randolph, Carter, Bulls, Vazquez

While the returns of J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler from the Chinese Basketball Association grabbed more headlines over the last month or so, there are other former NBA players still returning from overseas in search of NBA gigs. One such player is former 76ers forward Shavlik Randolph, who averaged 24.7 PPG, 11.9 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in China this season. According to Sportando, Randolph is "in serious talks" with two NBA clubs and could sign a deal soon. While we wait to see if the Duke product can find his way back to an NBA roster, let's check out a few more links from around the league….