Cape Verdean center Walter Tavares will become the first player from that island nation to play in the NBA after the Atlanta Hawks agreed to terms with their 2014 second-round pick, who played the past three seasons with Spanish-league club Herbalife Gran Canaria.
"A bittersweet day for me: today I have to say goodbye to the club that's given me everything. Thank you C.B. Gran Canaria," Tavares wrote in Spanish Thursday on Twitter.
He followed up that message with a message in English that read, "I'm very excited to announce that next season I'll be part of the @ATLHawks. Can't wait to get started. Let's go Hawks!"
The Hawks secured the rights to the player when they selected him with the 43rd pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and he played for that team in the NBA Summer League last year.
But Tavares, a 7-foot-3 center with a 7-foot-9 wingspan, played once again for Herbalife Gran Canaria in the 2014-2015 season, raising his stock with improved play in the Spanish league, Copa del Rey and Eurocup competitions.
Rumors that he would sign with the Hawks began to swirl earlier Thursday when the 23-year-old player posted a photo of himself on Instagram with the message, "Changes are scary, but I'm afraid of regrets."
Tavares began playing basketball just six years ago when a Gran Canaria scout discovered him in his homeland, an archipelago in the central Atlantic Ocean that is home to just over 500,000 people.
The player told reporters a few days ago that he was not sure what the immediate future held but that he would not mind staying one more year in the Liga ACB under the guidance of "the best coach in Spain," a reference to Gran Canaria head coach Aito Garcia Reneses.