LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Joel Freeland of Great Britain in action during the London Prepares Series match between Croatia and Great Britain at the Basketball Arena on August 17, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Earlier Tuesday, Spanish publication La Opinion De Malaga reported that international Portland Trail Blazers big man Joel Freeland was close to signing a contract extension with Unicaja Malaga of Spain's ACB league. The deal would reportedly include a lofty buyout figure, among other enticements aimed at keeping Freeland, one of Europe's premier big man, with Malaga and away from the NBA.
Meanwhile, Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan has maintained since January that the Blazers will work to bring Freeland to the NBA for the 2012-2013 season.
On Tuesday, Buchanan cautioned against believing the details of the report and said that Freeland has not yet reached an agreement with Malaga.
"We talk frequently with his representatives," Buchanan said. "We're very well aware where things are at with his extensions talks with Malaga... I know there are discussions but there's nothing finalized with Joel and Malaga... Just be hesitant on believing everything you read out there... the buyout number is not always reported accurately as well."
If and when an extension with Malaga is reached, Buchanan said that, regardless of the terms, it would not change Portland's desire to bring Freeland to Portland.
"[An extension] provides him some insurance moving forward. We're trying to look out for our best interests and he's trying to look out for his. His contract situation or extension will affect some of our discussions. At the end of the day we're going to do whatever we can to get him over here. We still want Joel Freeland in Portland next year. That hasn't changed."
Portland can sign Freeland, a British national, using either cap space or an exception this summer (depending on their payroll situation relative to the salary cap), given the amount of time that has passed since he was a first round pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Blazers can contribute up to $500,000 to help Freeland pay his buyout.
"We want Joel over here next year and we're going to try to make that happen," Buchanan said.
Freeland, 25, has been a standout for Unicaja Malaga this season, winning ACB player of the month honors.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter