BARCELONA, Spain -- Spanish international Juan Carlos
Navarro finally could be about to leave Europe for the NBA.
A shooting guard for Winterthur Barcelona, Navarro was the MVP
this season of the Spanish ACB, the best pro league in the world
outside of the NBA. His NBA rights are held by the Washington
"The NBA is a door that I don't shut," he said. "I have been at
Barca for many years and for the first time this year, I am
considering the possibility of going to the NBA."
Navarro, who turns 26 on June 13, will enter the FIBA World
Championship in Japan in August as one of the hottest players in
Europe. His performances this season led Barca into the
Euroleague Final Four.
Last year in Belgrade, Serbia Montenegro, he was named to the
EuroBasket All-Tournament Team, helping Spain reached the
Navarro has been on the NBA radar for several years but has
chosen to remain in Europe. He is one of several Spaniards who
have had varying impacts on the NBA.
Close friend and forward Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies made
the All-Star team this season. Rookie guard Jose Manuel
Calderon saw considerable action for the Toronto Raptors.
Barca teammate and fellow international Fran Vazquez was
selected 11th overall by Orlando in the 2005 draft but elected
to remain in Spain after receiving a more lucrative contract.
Navarro has a buyout clause in his contract with Barcelona for
nearly $13 million. NBA teams are allowed to pay up to just
$350,000 in buyout fees, and Barcelona general director Zoran
Savic already has stated that the club "would not reduce that
figure by one (dollar)."
"It's very complicated and I have to think about it, but not
now. Once the season ends," Navarro said. "The problems are my
clause, and my family."
Gasol would welcome his former Barcelona teammate in the NBA.
"Since the day I left to join the NBA, I have tried to push him
(Navarro) to come," Gasol said. "The more Spaniards in the NBA,
the better it will be for our basketball."