Eurocamp: Day 1

TREVISO, Italy – The very intriguing Bismack Biyombo went through the motions of an individual workout in the afternoon and the conflicting Donatas Motiejunas staged the same audition in the evening, but the only real potential draft shakeup from the first day of the adidas Eurocamp on Saturday was the uncertain contract status, and lottery position, of Jonas Valanciunas.

While some NBA front offices rate Valanciunas the best of the European prospects who will dot the top 10 on June 23 – some still prefer Enes Kanter, by way of Kentucky, or Jan Vesely – Valanciunas has not reached a buyout agreement with the team in his native Lithuania in unwanted drama for teams who want to know with certainty whether a first-round pick will deliver a player for next season or an international headache.

How unwanted?

As one general manager put it, reminding in the universal language of messy contracts: “It goes back to Ricky Rubio.”

Cue the ominous organ music.

Plus, one NBA executive said Saturday he was told by someone who would know that a separate buyout is being negotiated to allow Valanciunas to play in Italy if the work stoppage in the United States scheduled to begin July 1 drags into the 2011-12 regular season. Under that complicating scenario, Valanciunas joins an Italian club with a clause that he gets out of that contract as soon as the lockout ends. Allegedly.

NBA clubs are understandably concerned and factoring the great unknown into their calculations. But most executives polled Saturday believe the problem will be resolved before the draft, and not with the $3-million buyout that has been reported. The more-likely outcome, they believe, is that the Lithuanian team gets a percentage of Valanciunas’ salary for a set period, meaning the higher he goes on June 23, the better it is financially for both sides.

Meanwhile, another European prospect, Nikola Mirotic, could get knocked from the first round because of a buyout so exorbitant that another general manager calls it a “nightmare.” That is not nearly the issue of the Valanciunas uncertainty, though, because Mirotic would have been considered a bubble first-rounder even with a clean move to the United States.

Other news, notes and observations from the opening of the largest annual international gathering of teams preparing for the draft:

  • The Biyombo workout was interesting as a rare public look at a prospect who has not played in months, after splitting with his team in Spain, and was barely known in the United States even when he was in a lineup. It just wasn’t good. The entire premise was a bad idea. Biyombo, a power forward from the Republic of Congo, is a stud athlete who blocks shots and rebounds. That would have come out in a game, where he could light up the gym by flying around the rim and overpowering opponents. In one-on-none drills, NBA evaluators got to observe bad hands and an offensive game that everyone agrees will be a non-factor in the league, all the way to a bad showing at the line. Dibs on trademarking “Hack a ‘Mack.” Opponents will foul Biyombo every time he has the ball within dunking distance, also known as his maximum shooting range. The encouraging news is that an executive with one team said Biyombo did much better at a recent individual workout in Spain by catching balls a club official purposely threw wild to gauge reaction and hands. But nothing hides the zero offense of a player tracking to the top 10.
  • The Motiejunas workout was better but hardly worth the top of the resume either. While he showed the agility and a shooting touch uncommon at 6-feet-11 power forward, the lottery-bound power forward appeared tired to those who had watched him during the season.Davis Bertrans, on the bubble for the first round and guaranteed money, pulled out of the camp because his team had a game in the Slovenian playoffs about a three-hour drive away. He may come for an individual workout on Sunday.
  • Texas power forward Tristan Thompson is starting to pull out of workouts with teams picking late in the lottery, citing nagging injuries. He is either very confident of being picked higher or has been told by an interested club he will go sooner.

36 Comments

  1. hm, says:

    Nobody cares about you stupid zalgiris. Get a life, it’s about Valanciunas now.

  2. TheSituation23 says:

    Watch out for Hanga Ádám! Hungary’s best basketball player…and he’s good enough to play in the NBA!

  3. Scout says:

    Denmark also have some great players! Someone should take a look of the young playera!

  4. Alexas says:

    I think that valanciunas should go to nba. he cant improve in europe. i think he has the potential to become a legend like sabonis. my friend was with him in a basketball camp and said that valanciunas is incredibly funny and nice person

  5. Povilas says:

    Valanciunas is good player. But I’m ZALGIRS fan. ;)

  6. rytas valdo says:

    pasol nx zalgiri tu kavenskas bybi grauzk lietuvai gedos nedaryk lopas GEDA GEDA GEDA!!!!!

  7. alex says:

    again!!!what about vlad moldoveanu…great player…just like dirk nowiski when he was young!!

  8. Taigi says:

    Rasykit lietuviskai.

  9. Galvijas says:

    Valanciunas is nothing – ZALGIRIS is everything. Go Go Go ZALGIRIS – – -GO GO GO KAUNAS . KAUNAS – The Best what God created

  10. ny says:

    Valanciunas is not ready yet, he knows it and everybody knows .Nobody saying this guy will be next d.howard this or next year, but I think this guy has a lot of potential and he’s a real deal.

  11. Arvydas says:

    Bliamba, vieni lietuviai cia komentuoja beveik :D Go Valanciunas !!!

  12. ricky says:

    When Ricky Rubio play in the NBA, will shut many mouths.
    He is best than Rajon Rondo.

  13. asd says:

    What`s with these Lithuanian fans of Valanciunas?
    He`s just a guy who can play in europe, nothing more, in my opnion he should stay there if he wants to play rather than sit on the bench?

  14. Axel says:

    What so speacial about that guy? In the NBA he will be smashed between the big boy of NBA :D He’s not a high level player !

    • LT UNITED says:

      I agree, he is still 2-3 away from that level, even in Europe he played a sustitute role in small budget, mediocre team…

  15. JR says:

    Lampe is polish, what can he understand about basketball?

  16. Fan says:

    Jonas best Europe center :)

  17. nba scout says:

    good player with good skills nice inividual game for all team.

  18. douglas says:

    does jv have any post moves , how far does he shoot from the basket, all i see is him dunking , should have made a better clip in showing his skill sets

  19. WOW says:

    Lampe is great player

  20. SlamDunker says:

    The future will bring something, so be patient and calm down :)

  21. Julius says:

    valanciunai stay with lithuania no need to go italy lithuanian clubs are better

  22. Tarenas says:

    Jonas Valanciunas can play much better than in this video.

  23. Gay says:

    I love you Jonas

  24. Ian says:

    The Ricky Rubio situation has understandably scarred NBA GMs. Who takes a job and says “I’ll start working for you in three years time, MAYBE”? Teams want results ASAP, no matter how good a player is meant to be. Furthermore, I read a recent article regarding Rubio here on NBA.com and it said he is no Rajon Rondo and may never be. If I was the Timberwolves I would be selling his rights back to a European team and looking for some more immediate talent, i.e. an established big-time player.

  25. BC18thCT says:

    It’s normal in Europe to get money when players leave they’re club. If you don’t have enough money you don’t get players thats the rule with Europien clubs why shuld they treat NBA clubs any different

  26. Dude says:

    Jonas Valanciunas is beast!!!

  27. Tomas says:

    Valanciunas is great player with great personality.he is very athletic and great rebounder.he looks like junior dwight howard copy and when he get some little bit muscle he be a next dwight.

  28. Marius says:

    Lithuanians are the best in basketball

  29. talkbasket says:

    Why should Valanciunas go to Italy instead of staying with Rytas?

  30. Darius says:

    Jonas Valanciunas is a very good player.

  31. LTU says:

    And there goes money all the way accross the carrier of a natural talent…
    JV is not the first one lithuanian that clubs want cosmic buyouts… hate that… you raise a talent and then you agree to get a percentage and that’s it… why do you need to stop his improvement… JV needs to get stronger physically and NBA is the best place for that, just look at DH12, look at him when he arrived to the league and look at him now… he’s a monster that no center in the league can stop…

  32. Lukas says:

    This guy can much more, than in this video.

  33. Receptai says:

    Jonas valanciunas, stay at europe!

  34. Swan says:

    They set aside some money for improvements.

    • alex says:

      why istn anybody talking about vlad moldoveanu????he is grat, he is laike dirk nowiski!!!