Jonas Valanciunas, the fifth overall pick in last year's draft, has begun negotiating a release agreement with his current team in Lithuania, according to NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper. The agreement will ultimately consist of a $2.4MM buyout that Valanciunas will have to pay his team, Lietuvos Rytas. By league rules, the Raptors are allowed to contribute as much as $550K of the total buyout.
At the time he was drafted, Valanciunas was a seven-foot, 19-year-old prospect at center, with major questions regarding when he'd be allowed to come overseas and play in the NBA. It forced most teams to balk at the notion of drafting him, but Raptor GM Bryan Colangelo didn't hesitate.
“I have no doubt that is the right pick or was the right pick for us…despite the pressure of picking a so-called sexy pick or someone that might be a more-popular pick, we made the pick that we felt was the best decision, long term and short term, for the franchise because it fit right into this building process that we’re going through right now.”
The Raptors have a 3.5% chance at receiving the number one overall pick in tomorrow night's lottery, and a 12.3% chance at selecting in the top three. Should they get lucky, the team's roster will be filled with youth, and manageable cap space.