TREVISO, Italy – I came, I saw, I worked nonstop and absolutely, positively did not enjoy the food and beverage of the land or dine al fresco along a charming piazza on a perfectly breezy evening or have nightcaps of tiramisu and gelato. Although it would be OK if I did since one place was recommended by a general manager, so that counts as work.
There were productive days all around. The adidas Eurocamp that ended Monday was as successful as could be expected for the 30 teams represented at the largest annual international pre-Draft gathering, considering most of the players likely headed to the lottery June 23 declined to participate and two of the biggest names, Bismack Biyombo and Donatas Motiejunas, both had underwhelming individual workouts. But Jonas Valanciunas, Biyombo and Montiejunas at least met with teams, some in repeat visits, to allow executives to get a better sense of the players’ personalities.
Valanciunas confirmed earlier in the day, the deadline to withdraw from the draft, that he gave no consideration to pulling out, contrary to guessing that wrongly passed as guessing in some media outlets. His buyout terms are still being discussed and has become a source of concern for teams not interested in spending a top-five pick for a center who isn’t coming to the NBA for at least a year, but no one in a position to know ever expected a different outcome.
“It’s the 11th Commandment,” said one front-office official in attendance. “They just found it: Greed is undefeated.”
Meaning a difficult negotiation is expected to be completed before the draft to generate a financial windfall for Valanciunas and his team in Lithuania. He could be picked as soon as No. 4 to Cleveland.
Other news, notes and observations from the third and final day:
- Lucas Nogueira, a possibility for the first round, was the biggest name to pull out on deadline day, agreeing with the assessment from teams he is not close to being physically ready for the NBA. Nogueira said he plans to be in the 2012 draft.
- The top international prospects – Motiejunas, Biyombo, Valanciunas and Enes Kanter, who has stayed in the United States after a freshman year at Kentucky – all do well with English and most are engaging. There will not be any communications problems. I have not talked with Jan Vesely.
- One executive was walking past in the gym. He stopped and turned. “Good triumphs over evil,” he said, smirking. Meaning Mavericks over Heat. Distaste for Miami and the coordinated effort to add LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Dwyane Wade isn’t just for fans and the media.
- Opinions remain as unsettled as before the camp on the top international prospect in a draft when five players with overseas backgrounds could go in the top 10. Most picks are for Vesely or Valanciunas, with lesser support for the others, even if Kanter may be the first off the board with the Jazz known to be seriously considering him. One executive called Valanciunas “a future franchise center.”