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Sergio Rodriguez Exits NBA, Returns to Spain

Jul 2, 2010 – 3:25 PM
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Tom Ziller

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Sergio Rodriguez, the 6'3 Canarian point guard so bombastic he earned the Jason Williams-inspired nickname "Spanish Chocolate," just couldn't set his NBA career on the right path over the past four seasons. He struggled to find a consistent role under conservative coach Nate McMillan in Portland, was stuck behind rookie sensation Tyreke Evans in Sacramento and failed to stand out on a depleted Knicks squad. And despite a thin free agent crop of point guards, Rodriguez's stateside prospects were pretty glum now that his rookie contract has ended.

But the international market was said to be enamored by the ebullient playmaker, and Sergio became one of the first big names to sign with a big European club today when Ettore Messina's Real Madrid announced it has locked up Rodriguez on a three-year deal.

Madrid has more Euroleague titles than any other club, but hasn't won the big prize since 1995. The team was knocked out of the 2009-10 Euroleague quarterfinals by Ricky Rubio's Barcelona, and was knocked out of the semifinals of the ACB playoffs by eventual champ Baskonia.

Legendary coach Messina hopes to change those results, adding Sergio to a backcourt that features countryman (and Rockets prospect) Sergio Llull and former Jazz first-round pick Morris Almond. Madrid also features a sturdy frontcourt which includes former Raptor Jorge Garbajosa, Spanish national team staple Felipe Reyes and Croat hulk Ante Tomic. Argentine Pablo Prigioni is also on Madrid's roster, though one would figure he might become an odd man out with Llull in place for one more season and Rodriguez now on board.
Filed under: Sports