Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that Portland Trail Blazers unrestricted free agent forward Luke Babbitt has agreed to sign a one-year deal with Russian club BC Nizhny Novgorod.
Luke Babbitt has agreed to a one-year deal with the Europe club BC Nizhny Novgorod of Russia, a league source informed CSNNW.com. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the fact that no announcement has been made, added that the deal does not contain an NBA out clause.
Babbitt's agent Bill Duffy confirmed the deal saying, "My take is Luke needs to play 30 minutes a game and play a more expanded role. We've had recent success with both Danny Green (of the San Antonio Spurs) and Patrick Beverley (of the Houston Rockets) getting an opportunity to develop their games in Europe and return to the NBA. The NBA is a league of opportunity. We feel strongly this is the best move for Luke at this time."
Babbitt, 24, was a finalist for the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 62 appearances last season. In three seasons with the Blazers, Babbitt holds career averages of 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds.
BC Nizhny Novgorod was founded in 2000, according to the club's website, and has undergone a number of name changes over the years. One list of the club's former players includes Americans Kirk Snyder and Dijon Thompson. Snyder attended the University of Nevada, like Babbitt, and spent four years in the NBA from 2004 to 2008. Thompson went to UCLA and played 16 games total with the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks during an NBA career that spanned from 2005 to 2007.
Nizhny Novgorod has a population of more than 1 million people and is located roughly five hours east of Moscow.
The Blazers did not pick up the option for the fourth year of Babbitt's rookie contract last fall.
During his April exit interview, Babbitt suggested that his time with the Blazers could be coming to an end.
"It's always an open door. It's obviously not the greatest chances in the world that I'll be back but it's not a closed door either. I haven't talked to my agent about it. We really haven't had any conversations about next year. ... There's uncertainty with free agency. Just going to take it as it comes, there's not much for me to do. See what happens. This is my first time as a free agent, just go with the flow and listen to my agent. ... I haven't even talked to my agent since the season started."
One writer noted what a quiet summer it has been for Babbitt, the No. 16 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
The Moda Center will need a new Chalupa King.
Former Blazers guard Nolan Smith will also spend the 2013-14 season overseas, playing for Cedevita Zagreb of Croatia.
PS Thanks to jons_guitar in the FanShots.
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