Ime Udoka, whose rise from the NBA Development League to NBA starter made him a fan favorite with the Trail Blazers, is poised to sign a multiyear contract with the reigning-champion San Antonio Spurs.
Udoka's agent, Erin Cowan, told The Oregonian on Sunday that Udoka has made a commitment to the Spurs and hoped to have a deal finalized by Tuesday.
Cowan would not reveal contract specifics, but sources have indicated that Udoka will sign a two-year deal worth more than $2 million. The second year could be a player option.
"San Antonio was the first team to contact us and we've been in communication with each other ever since," Cowan said. "They were very respectful to us during the process and allowed us to go out and seek more money. But the well dried up. Ime's excited for this opportunity."
Udoka had hoped throughout free agency to re-sign with Portland, Cowan said. But after the Blazers traded for James Jones and signed free agents Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake, the team had committed to the maximum of 15 guaranteed contracts. So he shifted focus.
Boston, Miami, Memphis, Cleveland and Dallas expressed interest, according to Cowan, with the Celtics -- after trading for Kevin Garnett earlier this month -- being the most serious bidders.
But financial terms never could be agreed upon and in the end, San Antonio became the ideal fit.
"This is an opportunity for Ime to play on the grand stage with the defending champions," Cowan said. "Portland will always be in his heart, but this opportunity was too good to pass up. He's going to play around three all-stars and a Hall of Famer, and he gets the opportunity to play for a champion right now."
Udoka, who played at Jefferson High School and Portland State, will provide San Antonio with solid long-range shooting, superior perimeter defense and a tireless work ethic.
The Blazers invited him to their training camp last season as an afterthought, but he blossomed into an opening-day starter. He started 75 games at small forward, averaging 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, and shot 46.1 percent from the field, including 40.6 percent from three-point range.
Before the breakout season, Udoka was a journeyman, making professional stops in Europe, the NBA Development League and the NBA.
"He's excited to start the next phase of his career," Cowan said. "He wants to be a Spur for a long time."