The Oklahoma City Thunder tried to reach a deal that would've allowed 7-foot-1 Tibor Pleiss to join the NBA this season, but the buyout provision on his European deal remained too prohibitive, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Pleiss, 24, was the 31st overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft and has developed into one of Europe's better center prospects. Thunder officials knew bringing Pleiss to the NBA this season was something of a long shot, but made a bid based on the fact that Pleiss had shown an inclination to leave Laboral Vitoria of the Spanish ACB this season if a contract agreement could be reached, sources said.
Nevertheless, the buyout clause of approximately $1 million on Pleiss' Laboral contract made the move too difficult, and Laboral cut a deal for Pleiss to sign with FC Barcelona for the 2014-15 season. Oklahoma City's plan had been to focus on bringing Pleiss to the NBA in the 2015-16 season, and that still remains the most likely scenario, sources said.
The Thunder are allowed to pay $600,000 toward a player's buyout as part of his contract, but the salary the Thunder could've paid Pleiss to come play in the NBA – and still remain under the luxury-tax threshold – proved to be too little.
Marca first reported Pleiss' deal with FC Barcelona.
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