Valanciunas May Join Raptors This Year

by December 03, 2011

There is a “small chance” that Jonas Valanciunas could join the Raptors this season. ESPN‘s Chad Ford reports that the 19-year-old’s current team, Lietuvos Rytas, failed to qualify for the Euroleague and will likely lose sponsorships, so they’re interested in a payday: “The Toronto Raptors drafted Jonas Valanciunas with the No. 5 pick in the 2011 NBA draft knowing it would be at least a year before he came to the NBA. But a source close to the team told on Saturday that there’s a small chance they might be able to get him this season. The source said that the team reached out to Valanciunas’ agent over the weekend to gauge the center’s interest in joining the Raptors in 2011-12. If Valanciunas has interest, the Toronto would have to work out a buyout with his team in Lithuania, Lietuvos Rytas. Valanciunas does not currently have an NBA buyout for this season in his overseas deal, but things have changed for Lietuvos Rytas over the past five months. They failed to qualify for the Euroleague this season and the team will likely lose critical sponsorship money. Given the current situation, they need money more than Valanciunas.”