Great Britain forward Joel Freeland will move to the NBA next season after agreeing a deal with the Portland Trailblazers.
The Surrey-born star, who was originally drafted by the Blazers in 2006, is understood to have agreed a €1.5m buy-out of the remaining two years on his contract with Spanish League club Unicaja Malaga. He took a medical in Portland on Friday, finalising the switch.
“The timing was right to bring Joel over and we’re thrilled it worked out,” said Blazers GM Neil Olshey. “He is a rugged interior player with a nice touch around the basket and he plays hard every game. Joel will be a nice addition to the roster.”
The move will see Freeland miss GB’s two friendlies against Portugal in Sheffield this weekend in another disruption to the side’s build-up to the Olympic Games.
The 25-year-old began his career with Solent before moving to Gran Canaria before joining Malaga but he now feels ready to test himself across the Atlantic.
“I’ve always said it was my dream to be here,” he said. “They’ve really pushed to get me here and i feel really secure and ready. I ended up playing six seasons in Europe. I’m a very established player over there but I feel this is the next step in my career to test myself.”
“Unicaja player Joel Freeland has informed the club of his decision to end his contract and move to the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA,” said a Malaga spokesperson.
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