Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Luke Babbitt has left the Russian club BC Nizhny Novgorod to return to the United States.
The team made the announcement on its website.
Here's a google translated version of the announcement.
Today it became known that the forward Luke Babbitt voluntarily flew to his home in the United States. A few days ago, our club has received a formal request for the player from one of the NBA, but because the coaching staff has done a great job with the individual American Legion in training, which was to bring the maximum benefit of the team in the spring phase playoffs, BC guide "NN "denied the request on his transition. Despite this, Luke Babbitt decided to voluntarily leave "Nizhny Novgorod". The club has not signed his absentee letter, without which he can not play any one professional club.
Sergey Panov / general manager of BC "Nizhny Novgorod": I do not know what guided Babbitt, but he should understand that without absentee letters from the club, play somewhere else, including the NBA, when the current contract it will not work. For its part, we comply with all our arrangements and tried to explain to the player that comes now for the team is a very important time, because BC "NN" continues to fight for the top places in the VTB United League and the Eurocup. However, Babbitt chose another continuation of our relationship. Now the main task - as tough to defend the rights of the club in the higher courts to ensure that the player understood - there is a serious business, with no place for such behavior.
Zoran Lukic / head coach of BC "Nizhny Novgorod": I will not hide the fact that players are not the best team experience emotions in connection with the departure of Babbitt. Due to the hard work we have managed to bring it to the next level of the game, after several unsuccessful months in the new team. On the other hand, his action demonstrates with the club, the players, the fans, the city. Drop everything to collect their belongings and leave before the crucial match with "Bilbao" - a decision that is difficult to justify, even with the possibility of a contract with the NBA club.
To summarize, Babbitt left Russia, he apparently has generated NBA interest, BC Nizhny Novgorod is upset that he left at the spur of the moment, and they plan to fight his ability to sign with another team.
Babbitt agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Russian team back in August after the Blazers decided not to extend a fourth-year rookie option to the 2010 first-round pick.
Babbitt, 24, holds NBA career averages of 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds over three seasons. Babbitt was averaging 13.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for BC Nizhny Novgorod in VTB League play, according to EuroBasket.com.
Update: Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that Babbitt was planning to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans and that he's indeed stuck in a contract "battle" with BC Nizhny Novgorod.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter