tampabay.com

Magic's top pick says he'd rather stay abroad

By wire services
Published July 30, 2005


ORLANDO - First-round draft pick Fran Vazquez has decided to remain in Europe instead of joining this Magic.

The power forward from Spain was the 11th pick. He was expected to play right away for the Magic, but surprised the team and his agent with his decision Thursday.

"I've said no because I was afraid to adapt to the American way of life and of not giving the level they have asked," Vazquez told the Spanish newspaper Malaga Hoy. "I'm not a coward, but I prefer to stay in Spain, progress, and who knows? Maybe jump to the NBA in a few years."

All-Star game goes to Vegas

Las Vegas has been chosen to host the 2007 NBA All-Star game, the first time the league's midseason showcase will be held in a city that doesn't have a team, Bloomberg reported.

NBA Commissioner David Stern will make the announcement Friday, Bloomberg said.

Court dates changed

New court dates have been set for the Pacers players charged for their roles in the Nov. 12 brawl with fans at Detroit.

A pretrial hearing for the cases involving Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, will be Sept. 23, the court said. David Harrison's pretrial hearing is Sept. 19. The judge will hear the case against Anthony Johnson, with jury selection Sept. 16.

The players and fans are charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. They face a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

HEAT: Free-agent forward Antoine Walker met this week with Miami president Pat Riley, and while no contract offer was made, conversations are ongoing, Walker's agent Mark Bartelstein said. He added there's mutual interest, but declined to discuss the likely timetable for a deal or what might come next.

NETS: Free agent guard Jeff McInnis will sign a one-year deal with an option for a second, his agent said.

TRAIL BLAZERS: Free agent Juan Dixon has agreed to a three-year deal with Portland, ending his three-year stay with Washington, an official in the league told The Associated Press on Thursday night. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal is worth $8-million.