By Iliana Limón Romero and Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
6:01 PM EDT, July 17, 2012
If Fran Vázquez ever plays for the Orlando Magic, it won't be before the 2014-15 season.
The Magic's 2005 first-round draft pick has decided to keep playing in Europe.
In an interview Tuesday, Vázquez's agent, José Cobelo, confirmed that Vázquez has agreed in principle to a new contract with Unicaja Málaga, a team in Spain's top league.
Cobelo said the new deal is guaranteed for two seasons and does not include an out clause that would enable the 6-foot-10 big man to leave Spain during that time for the NBA. The contract includes an option to extend the deal for a third year, the 2014-15 season.
"We haven't had much communication with Orlando," Cobelo said. "They didn't have much interest, so they didn't affect our situation."
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan was in Las Vegas, the site of the NBA Summer League. According to Yahoo! Sports, Los Angeles Lakers officials planned to meet with him to discuss a possible trade involving Dwight Howard.
Talks between the Magic and the Lakers are nothing new, and for any deal to occur, Howard would have to agree to commit long-term to the Lakers.
And that's a big obstacle: Howard has said he wants to play long-term only for one team, the Brooklyn Nets, and it's unclear whether anything could change his mind.
The Houston Rockets remain a contender to acquire Howard. Unlike the Lakers, the Rockets are willing to acquire Howard without any assurances from him that he would remain with the team beyond the upcoming season.
Still, the Rockets' ability to absorb other Magic players' contracts has seemed to take a hit in recent days. According to The New York Times, the Knicks don't plan to match the Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer sheet for Jeremy Lin.
Houston also plans to formally sign Chicago Bulls restricted free agent Omer Asik to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet after the Lin situation is resolved. It's unclear whether the Bulls will match.
The Magic's chances of signing Vázquez this offseason may have been hurt when the team parted ways with Otis Smith on May 21 and Hennigan fired longtime assistant general manager Dave Twardzik on June 24.
But although Smith and Twardzik had some hope Vázquez could be convinced to make the jump to the U.S., even they had acknowledged that Vázquez might have been using the Magic to gain leverage in his contract talks in Spain.
In 2005, with Smith and Twardzik leading the basketball operations department as assistant GMs, the Magic used the No. 11 pick in the draft on Vázquez.
In that same draft, the Indiana Pacers selected Danny Granger 17th overall, the Milwaukee Bucks chose Ersan Ilyasova 36th and the Golden State Warriors picked Monta Ellis 40th.
The Magic will continue to retain Vázquez's draft rights unless the team trades away those rights.
Vázquez has never played in the NBA.
And it looks increasingly like he never will.
He is 29 now and will be 31 years old when the 2014-15 NBA season begins.
Cobelo still would not rule out the possibility of Vázquez transitioning to the NBA eventually.
"It depends on what happens when we finish this contract," Cobelo said. "It's possible that, yes, he could still come."
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