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MailTribune.com
  • BASKETBALL

    Singler opts to stay in Spain

    He'll skip the NBA season and join one of Europe's top franchises, Real Madrid
  • Kyle Singler has adapted so well to his lifestyle in Spain that he's decided to stay awhile.
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  • Kyle Singler has adapted so well to his lifestyle in Spain that he's decided to stay awhile.
    The former South Medford High and Duke University star basketball player has reached an agreement to join another Spanish professional team, Real Madrid, and finish out the European season rather than return to play for the Detroit Pistons when the NBA lockout is lifted.
    Singler's agent, Greg Lawrence of Wasserman Media Group, confirmed the agreement Tuesday afternoon and said Singler would sign a contract shortly, "if he didn't do it before he went to bed last night."
    Spain is nine hours ahead of West Coast time.
    Details of the deal haven't been divulged, but a report says it's for $900,000 and covers the rest of this season.
    Singler was a second-round selection in the June draft by the Pistons. He signed with Lucentum Alicante in August with the stipulation that he'd be released from his contract if the NBA reopened for business.
    NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement Saturday on a collective bargaining agreement to end the 149-day lockout. It still must be ratified by owners and players, but plans are for camps to open Dec. 9 and the league to have a 66-game season.
    Singler has been one of the stars in the ACB League, leading Lucentum with averages of 15 points and 47-percent shooting. The 6-foot-8 forward has averaged 3.6 rebounds while helping Lucentum to a 6-3 record, two games behind co-leaders Real Madrid and Regal FC Barcelona.
    The uncertainty of what lies ahead in Detroit and the appeal of playing for Real Madrid, one of the world's top professional clubs, were primary factors in Singler's decision.
    "They put together a very, very appealing package for him," said Lawrence. "When the discussions first started, there was a ton of uncertainty about what was going to happen with the NBA season. What it really comes down to is Kyle went over there to play because of the lockout and fell in love with Spain. He really enjoyed the team, enjoyed the basketball and enjoyed living there."
    Indeed, Singler writes regularly in blogs and on Facebook about how great the fans are and about his interest in delving into the culture, particularly the food part of it.
    There are Facebook pictures of him whipping up meals, and he asks for suggestions on what dishes he should try. In one entry, he and teammates are cooking omelettes and tortillas.
    "Can't you tell I have some experience in the kitchen," he writes, then adds, "I rock the chef hat nicely!"
    Fans have gushed about him on various website forums, compared him to Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and expected him to lead Lucentum to greatness.
    Now it'll be perennial power Real Madrid looking for the same thing.
    The team's interest in Singler rose when it became clear one of its stars, former Portland Trail Blazer Rudy Fernandez, would return to his current team, the Mavericks, when the lockout ends.
    There had been reports out of Spain that Fernandez wanted to stay in Madrid. He signed a long-term contract with Real Madrid this past summer that would allow him to return there when his NBA obligations were met after this season.
    A source, however, told the website that Fernandez fully intends to honor his Mavericks pact.
    Real Madrid also has the Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka and other players with NBA experience on its roster.
    Lawrence wouldn't confirm the amount of the contract but said it's "a very lucrative offer," adding that, "it's fair to say he'll net a lot more than he'd get in the NBA by taking this deal."
    NBA contracts will be worth 80 percent of what they otherwise would have been because 20 percent of the 82-game schedule was wiped out. Moreover, the majority of European contracts are tax-free, according to Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski, who originally reported the Singler deal and the dollar figure.
    Wojnarowski noted that last season's 33rd overall pick — the same as Singler — was Hassan Whiteside of the Sacramento Kings, and he played for $730,437 as a rookie.
    Lucentum and other teams were interested in Singler as well, said Lawrence.
    Singler will soon report to Real Madrid. After the season, Lawrence said, they'd evaluate the situation and determine the next step.
    "He's still looking to have a long career with Detroit," said Lawrence.
    The Pistons are high on Singler, according to Wojnarowski, and sent front-office staff members to scout him in Spain. General Manager Joe Dumars and head coach Lawrence Frank couldn't have contact with Singler or his agent.
    Greg Lawrence had a chance to watch Singler play and was impressed.
    "He's played great over there," said Lawrence, adding that the European game suits him well because it's less individualized and relies on players sharing the ball and running sets.
    "Kyle's not a selfish player," said Lawrence. "He works well in a system. He's not the type of player where, if he's not scoring, he doesn't give you much. He'll give you a lot of things every single game. He fits in very well."
    Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com
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