Raptors News

Lucas Nogueira signing in Spain

The NBA is weird.

The NBA is out one of its most naturally gifted and eccentric centers.

Lucas Nogueira is close to signing with Fuenlabrada in the Spanish ACB league, according to multiple translated reports. (Sportando has since confirmed the deal is done.)

Depending on which report you translate, it appears Nogueira’s potential deal may have an opt out for EuroLeague teams, which could mean he has an NBA out clause, as well. One would think that if Nogueira had NBA offers to his liking, he’d have signed on by now with training camps opening a week from today around the league, but it appears the market has been cool for him.

The Toronto Raptors opted not to tender Nogueira a qualifying offer this summer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. The Raptors would still hold Nogueira’s Bird rights in the event he tried a return to the NBA later on in his career. The decision not to qualify Nogueira made sense given that he’d be a third-string center making $4.1 million for a team deep into the tax, though it’s a little perplexing that no NBA team found use for a 7-footer who, while inconsistent and a bit injury prone, consistently graded out as strong-to-elite in several key statistical categories.

Still just 26, Nogueira returns to the league where he was heralded as an elite defender with Estudiantes. Over three seasons in the ACB, Nogueira was able to play himself onto the draft radar, become a first round pick, and then make it to the NBA, where he spent four years as a depth piece for the Raptors, often flashing two-way potential in limited run. Fuenlabrada is not quite at the same level as a club, placing ninth with a .500 record last year and never finishing higher than seventh since re-joining the top division in 2005.

Sigh.

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