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Old 05-22-2011, 12:46 PM   #3 (permalink)

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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. It's asking for a percentage of Valanciunas' rookie contract. An agreement could have already been reached some time ago but the team has sent mixed messages.

Most expect a deal to be struck no more than a week before the draft. Valanciunas falling in the draft will only hurt Rytas' cause as not only will it lose significant respect from fans and constituents in basketball-crazy Lithuania, but it'll also hurt its chances of landing the next great young local prospect with NBA aspirations. Furthermore, being drafted lower results in a smaller contract.
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