The Portland Trail Blazers have reached a contract agreement with free-agent big man Fabricio Oberto to fill a hole on their front line, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that Oberto -- who has turned down several offers from Europe in recent weeks because he was determined to keep playing in the NBA -- is joining the Blazers on a one-year deal to fortify their depth as Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla continue to recover from the serious knee injuries they suffered last season.
But adding Oberto will require the Blazers to release two players before opening night rosters are finalized Monday because they're already carrying 16 players, one over the league limit.
Oberto was linked to the Blazers earlier this week, which prompted a denial from GM Rich Cho on Monday afternoon.
To get down to 15 players, the Blazers will either need to make a trade or waive two players. The most likely candidates for release would be guard Patty Mills and injured big man Jeff Pendergraph.
Update (6:23 PM):
A league source has confirmed Marc Stein's report to Blazersedge: The Blazers will sign Fabricio Oberto to a one-year contract.
Here's what you need to know about Oberto from this year's Basketball Prospectus.
Fabricio Oberto was the league's most turnover-prone player, turning the ball over on an incredible 36.2 percent of his possessions...
It's been a steep fall for Fabricio Oberto, who was a rotation player and part-time starter for a championship team just a few years ago. Oberto was out of work when camps opened, but it was expected that he'd land somewhere. As usual, he shot a high percentage close to the rim last season, but he has no ability to get shots for himself. Ninety-four percent of Oberto's made field goals were assisted last season, which is a testament to his lack of offensive skill and his decline on the offensive glass. Oberto's athletic indicators are in the toilet, and if he can't be counted up to at least provide solid defense, then his passing skills really don't mean that much. Oberto will probably get a few games in with somebody this season but, at 35, the end is nigh.
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Update (11:15 PM):
I actually like the signing. I agree with most everything Kevin Pelton has stated above. But that means there are no illusions here. Signing Oberto communicates nothing about Portland's perception of Greg Oden's readiness other than he's not going to be set at the start of the year, which we already knew. Oberto can lay zero claim to starting. He can lay zero claim to minutes. He'll never be able to demand the ball or space on the court. He won't take away offense from anyone. He's on a one-year deal. His only recourse if he wants to stick and/or play is to come in, work hard, and hustle for every rebound that comes off the rim. That's perfect for a deep bench big man. If he doesn't, no skin off of the Blazers' noses. They don't have much invested. He's a placeholder until his teammates get healthy, nothing more. I'd be more worried if the Blazers thought they needed a better guy.