A few days ago in the Washington Post, Ivan Carter wrote:
Grunfeld all but ruled out the possibility of Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro coming to the team next season. Navarro, who was drafted by the Wizards in 2002, is under contract with Barcelona of the Spanish Pro League and holds a prohibitive buyout option.
Well, if my Spanish is any good at all, this bit of news on the site of his Barcelona team says that Navarro has reached an accord with the squad that will let him pursue an NBA career. (It also says that his first name is "Joan" but I'm going to dismiss that as something that was lost in translation. I'm not sure the NBA is ready for a player named Joan.) Here's another report, also in Spanish. Apparently, this news has not hit the English speaking world yet.
It has been reported a million times that Navarro is both one of the best guards in Europe, and one of Pau Gasol's best friends. He's a guy who can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands, that's for sure.
UPDATE: TrueHoop reader Pere emails: "Just some background from Catalonia on Joan Carles Navarro, who's actually from my hometown of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, just 8 miles from Barcelona. His name, Joan Carles, is the Catalan translation of Juan Carlos. In English it would be John Charles." He also sends a link to another
Spanish Catalan language article saying Gasol's Grizzlies could be in the mix, although the source is unclear, at least with my language skills. Another article about Navarro and the Grizzlies.
UPDATE: Jonathan Givony at DraftExpress has been talking to sources on both sides of the Atlantic and says:
Our sources in Spain tell us that the Washington Wizards have scouted him extensively this past season, even sending Ernie Grunfeld over on more than one occasion to make contact with him. They consider him a perfect fit for their system, so it shouldn't be a surprise at all to see him end up in Washington DC.
If that can't be worked out, though, then there will surely be other suitors. The Memphis Grizzlies for one, are already looking at Navarro as the perfect companion to keep Pau Gasol happy with the direction the franchise is headed. The two are close friends and play extremely well with each other as we've all seen with the defending World Champion Spanish National Team over the years. If the Wizards opt to keep Deshawn Stevenson over Navarro (they cannot feasibly sign both) then look for Gasol to put pressure on Chris Wallace and the Memphis front office to do whatever it takes to get him in a Grizzlies uniform.
Givony adds that when Navarro's buyout is complete, Barcelona plans to spend the money it receives from Navarro to bring in recent Portland draft pick Rudy Fernandez.