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Eyenga re-signs with Spanish team


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Cleveland Cavaliers' draft pick Christian Eyenga reportedly re-signs with Spanish team

by Brian Windhorst / Plain Dealer Reporter

Thursday July 23, 2009, 1:02 AM


A Spanish Web site reported Wednesday that Cavaliers' first-round draft pick Christian Eyenga has signed a new contract with DKV Joventut in Spain.


Sportando.net, which tracks basketball in Europe, said the 6-5 shooting guard signed a three-year contract less than a week after completing summer league with the Cavs.


The Plain Dealer was unable to independenly confirm the report Wednesday night. In an interview last week, Eyenga declined to discuss his contract situation. The Cavs will maintain his rights but it is still unclear whether the contract has opt-out clauses or a significant buyout to come to the NBA.


After drafting him with the 30th overall pick in the first round on June 25, the Cavs seemed content to let Eyenga develop over in Europe for at least a year. After seeing him perform in the Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 8.8 points and shot 47 percent, a source said the Cavs wanted to sign him to his slotted two-year, $2 million contract so he could work on his game spliting time between Cleveland and Erie, Pa., in the NBA Development League.


Ricky Rubio

Eyenga, 20, was a free agent in Europe after spending most of last year with Prat Joventut, the Spanish franchise's junior team. NBA teams are allowed to contribute up tp $500,000 for a buyout but sometimes players sign deals with massive buyouts in exchange for more salary. As a result, numerous former picks are stuck in Europe because they can't afford to pay their buyouts with the slotted salaries NBA teams can pay.


This is a major issue for another DKV Joventut player, Minnesota Timberwolves' first-round pick Ricky Rubio. His contract with Joventut contains a buyout around $6 million and it is proving to be a significant stumbling block for him to get to the NBA. Wednesday, Rubio announced he was leaving Joventut but may not be coming to the NBA.


Because Eyenga knew he was a first-round pick when before entering the deal -- unlike Rubio, who signed with the franchise as a young teen -- he may have been able to insert a more-favorable buyout clause if the report is accurate.




In case you thought he might have any kind of short-term impact.


So, assuming the story's legit, it's at least one year of no return on the pick. Probably two, maybe three. Maybe more. How many players in recent history have been drafted, then spent two or three years overseas and come to the NBA to make any kind of impact?


Ginobili's the only one I can think of. Compared to Josh Howard, David Lee, Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer, Gilbert Arenas, Mo Williams, Trevor Ariza, and plenty more coming out of college to have real careers as (very) late-1st round/2nd round picks.


Considering how much I hated the pick when it was made, it's kind of amazing how little I've lightened up to it. I was fine with JJ Hickson last year. I was even fine with getting Ejike Ugboaja in the 2nd round a couple years ago. I generally take the GM's word for it since I know he knows much more than I do. But that said, I truly, truly hate the Eyenga pick.

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Yep, Windhorst says "He'll spend a yr developing b4 coming 2 CLE." via twitter. So I hate the pick less than I did a few hours ago.


Still, if anyone knows, I'd love to see a list of the players who were drafted, stayed overseas, and made an impact in the NBA. All I can think of is Manu, and maybe Luis Scola if you consider him an impact player (and even he didn't come over until he was 27).


You can't teach athleticism, but you can find athletic players at every level of American basketball. There's a reason the And 1 players aren't in the NBA. It takes talent, and it takes actual experience and knowledge of the game.


We can't do much more than wait and see right now, it's just that none of it adds up to a smart pick to me.

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Guest Aloysius
Still, if anyone knows, I'd love to see a list of the players who were drafted, stayed overseas, and made an impact in the NBA. All I can think of is Manu, and maybe Luis Scola if you consider him an impact player (and even he didn't come over until he was 27).

Here are some more names:

  • Peja Stojakovic

  • Andrei Kirilenko

  • Mehmet Okur

  • Nenad Krstic

  • Marc Gasol

  • Rudy Fernandez
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Very nice, Alo. One thing that stands out about most of those guys...they're big, and very polished. I don't think I've seen a single game of Marc Gasol, but it seems like he's more of a pure banger. Those other guys though, up around 6'9, 6'10, 7 feet (save Fernandez, who's a sniper)...and have a complete all-around game. Eyenga, in my admittedly uninformed opinion, just seems like a dime a dozen American player. 6'5, big-time athleticism, and raw. Doesn't seem like a position that's hard to find in a pool of Americans.

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