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Singler says goodbye to fans in message

Kyle Singler bid a heartfelt farewell to his fans in Alicante, Spain, via his Facebook basketball page.

But, as one responder pointed out, he's not quite done.

The woman wrote that she and her girl wanted to thank Singler for "all that you did for us this three months" and wished the former South Medford and Duke standout the best in his transition from one Spanish professional team to another.

"... but don't forget," she added, "that we practice tomorrow and we play on Sunday a very important game."

Singler will be in uniform a final time for Lucentum Alicante this weekend against CAI Zaragoza, then join his new team, Real Madrid, next week. He must pass a physical examination on Monday before the deal is complete.

Singler opted to remain in Spain and continue playing in the ACB league rather than join the Detroit Pistons when the NBA lockout ends. Detroit made him the 33rd overall selection in last summer's NBA draft and will retain the rights to the 6-foot-8 forward should he decide to return to the U.S. to play next year.

In his exit address on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thekylesingler), Singler wrote:

"And the journey continues "…

"I wanted to take a moment to thank the city of Alicante, my teammates and the coaching staff for welcoming me here to Spain. I have enjoyed playing here and feel truly blessed to have started my professional career with such great people. Real Madrid has presenting (sic) an opportunity that I believe is best for me at this time. I am extremely excited to move to the capital and play with some of the best basketball players in the world.

"My ultimate dream is to play in the NBA and I know when the time is right that will happen. For now I am headed in the right direction. Thanks to everyone for your encouraging words. I am looking forward to the move!"

He signs off with, "Gracias de Alicante, Madrid hola!"

Singler signed with Alicante in August and through nine games has distinguished himself as the league's top rookie, averaging 15 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 47 percent from the field.

Alicante is 6-3 and tied for fourth place, two games behind league leaders Real Madrid and FC Barcelona Regal. Sunday's opponent, CAI Zaragoza, is 4-5 and tied for ninth place in the 18-team league.

Real Madrid bought the rights to Singler so he could fill the void left by the departure of Rudy Fernandez, a former Portland Trail Blazer who will return to the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks next week.

Informacion, an Alicante newspaper, reported that Real Madrid paid 150,000 euros, or about $202,000, for the rights to Singler.

Marca.com, a Spanish radio website, reported Singler was making 15,000 euros, or just over $20,000 a month, with Alicante.

Reports have indicated Real Madrid will pay Singler $900,000 for the remainder of the season, but Singler's agent, Greg Lawrence, declined to confirm the figure in a phone conversation Tuesday, saying only it was a "very, very appealing package."

In a Radio Marca interview, Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso praised Singler, calling him a smart, versatile player with a great outside shot.

Singler's adaptation to the ACB was evident in his play for Alicante and "speaks highly of him," said Laso.

Losing Fernandez is disappointing, said Laso, but the possibility that could happen was always there.

Meanwhile, in the Informacion article, Alicante team president Luis Castillo called it a "good deal" with Real Madrid. He repeatedly stressed that his team's first choice would be to keep Singler, but it couldn't match the rival's offer.

Castillo was profuse in thanking Singler for his contributions and for helping Alicante erase the illusion it was a rock-bottom team. The player's decision to eschew the NBA for European ball also spoke well of the ACB, said the president.

"Ultimately, I think we've all come out ahead and Sunday should be a big party and that is the best tribute," said Castillo.

Singler's Alicante teammates won't be made available to the media prior to Sunday's game in order to focus on the American's farewell. Only coach Txus Vidorreta will speak beforehand.

Singler is expected to visit one last time with the Alicante media on Monday, then travel to Madrid and for his physical.

If comments on his Facebook page are an indication, he'll be missed.

"Thank you very much, Kyle," wrote one person. "You've been actually Mr. Singler. A truly gentleman in and out the court. All your fans here in Alicante are very grateful to your commitment."

Wrote another: "We'll say goodbye to you next Sunday, but we'll never forget this weeks."

One fan Alicante fan agreed Singler was making the right professional move but had a simple request.

"Play well this coming Sunday and play terrible when you come back as a Real Madrid player — please, be kind! Wish you luck!"

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com