Raptors and Bobcats the Biggest Draft Day Winners?

Posted by By at 6 July, at 16 : 32 PM Print

Raptors and Bobcats the Biggest Draft Day Winners?

As the NBA Draft unfolded a few weeks ago, many were shocked by the selection the Toronto Raptors made at 5th position in the draft.  Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo, who had just re-signed to a 2 year contract extension has led the Raptors essentially nowhere during his tenure with Toronto.  The Raps have been re-building for years and Colangelo has found himself always fixing the mistakes (bad trades/draft) he has made (Turkoglu and Jermaine O’Neal and Andrea Bargnani).  Leading up to the Draft, experts and fans alike had many an opinion for Colangelo and what the Raptors needed and should have done.  The Raptors have been known as a team that draft predominantly Non-American, Euroleague players as of late, and that’s exactly what they did.

As far as Raptor fans are concerned, the team needed an American born, NCAA player who would make an impact and become a marketable face the team could run with alongside Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis.  Unfortunately, Colangelo and the Raps selected Jonas Valanciunas out of the Lithuanian Basketball League.  Many said that Jonas would have been the 1st overall pick had he not been under contract with his current team still.  The Raptors shocked the NBA world once again and selected a player who had an “upside”.  There wasn’t a guarantee that he would even be able to play in the league this coming season.  Fans had witnessed the trials and tribulations the Timberwolves had to deal with before Ricky Rubio finally made his way over to America this past month, so to see The Raptors make a similar move was odd for a team that needed immediate help.

The Charlotte Bobcats, who were extremely active on Draft day were able to trade their way up to the #7 pick in order to select Power Forward Bismack Biyombo.  This athletic freak had raced his way up the Mock Draft boards by his hard work and incredible pre-draft workouts and was thought to possibly be a top-5 pick come draft day.  The Bobcats selected Bismack with the 7th overall pick, and with the selection of Biyombo put themselves in the same situation as the Raptors.  Biyombo terminated his contract that he had with his Spanish ball club prior to the draft, but apparently the team has now sued and Bismack is awaiting a court date to work through the details.  It is unknown when he will be cleared to play in the United States, although the thought is mid-way through was most likely.

The NBA has strict rules on Player buyouts coming over from European League teams.  According to League rules, NBA Teams can only contribute a maximum of $500,000 towards the buyout of a player.  Some would think this is an enormous amount of money, but taking into consideration the average Euroleague Player’s salary is in the millions, it’s hardly enough.

No player in their right mind would forfeit millions of dollars to make it to the NBA 1 or 2 years early after being drafted.  Especially if they know their rights are owned by an NBA team, and they can only improve playing overseas.  In the case of Jonas Valanciunas his current contract is 3 years in length with Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania and runs the team $2.5 million dollars per year.  This means the Raptors buyout contribution of $500,000 leaves Jonas with $2 million to be paid out himself or by his representatives.Luckily for the Raptors, Bryan Colangelo was able to negotiate a buyout with Jonas’s team and he is free to play in the NBA after next season, and possibly as early as January 2012.

The Bobcats, who will now patiently wait for the results in the case with Bismack can relax.  They too will patiently wait out the results and are confident Michael Jordan and the Bobcats brass can figure out a buyout with Biyombo’s Spanish Squad Baloncesto Fuenlabrada and avoid litigation.

With this Lockout almost 1 week old and no end in sight, the Raptors and Bobcats may have been the biggest winners in the Draft as they took gambles on players that had no guarantee they would be available to play in the NBA this coming season.  Luckily, there may not be a coming season, thus leaving Toronto and Charlotte as possible winners in the gamble known as international player drafting.

The Bowse's Word

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2 Comments

  1. T.ORaptors, 5 years ago Reply

    You’re right. week 2 almost done and they do look smart!!! Jonas V is a BALLLLLER

  2. DaveS, 5 years ago Reply

    I gave up on the Raps a long time ago. The Bobcats must feel even worse with MJ running the show. Who knows what the future has, but Toronto will never compete!


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