Rytas has taken a major step forward in resolving the buyout issue in recent days by hiring a European lawyer with significant experience in NBA buyout negotiations. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Rytas will attempt to structure the buyout on a sliding scale depending on where he gets picked, and are willing to be flexible with Valanciunas on when he can leave the team in case of an NBA lockout, even giving him the opportunity to stay with the team until he signs his rookie contract.
If his buyout situation will be resolved in a timely fashion, look for Valanciunas to be drafted somewhere between Nos. 3 and 8 overall. He’s ahead of Enes Kanter on both Cleveland and Toronto’s boards according to reports and has huge fans in Detroit’s front office as well.
Valanciunas has three more years on his contract after this current season, with no buyout option. His American agent Leon Rose of CAA has been negotiating with the team for the better part of the year Most of the dispute revolves around when the buyout will be paid. The team, which is in serious financial trouble, wants the money now, not when he joins the NBA.
For those who don’t know much about Valanciunas, Givony explains why teams like the Pistons are so intrigued:
At 6-11, with a reported 7-6 wingspan and a Joakim Noah-type motor, he’s the type of prospect NBA teams have a difficult time getting their hands on outside of the draft.
I don’t expect Valanciunas to last until the eighth pick, but I’d be thrilled if the Pistons draft him.