Arvydas Sabonis, who helped lead the Soviet Union to the gold medal in basketball at the 1988 Olympics, will make his professional debut in Spain instead of in the National Basketball Assn.
Officials for Forum Filatelico of Valladolid in the Spanish League said Saturday that Sabonis, 24, and Soviet teammate Valdemaras Homicius had signed one-year contracts. Sabonis signed for $1 million, Forum President Gonzalo Gonzalo said.
But Portland Trail Blazers officials, who drafted Sabonis in 1986, said they were told by Soviet sports representatives that Sabonis, a 7-foot-3 center, had not been officially granted permission to sign with the Spanish team.
"I am going to play with Forum for one year and then I would like to play in the NBA," Sabonis told Spanish television. "Maybe I can play in the NBA. It's possible, and I would like it."