Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lietuvos Rytas' GM talks about Valanciunas, Ivkovic and Spanoulis

Jonas Vainauskas, the General Manager of Lietuvos Rytas, spoke with journalist Edgaras Pulkovskis about the plans for next season and the roster changes in the mid-season.

Olympiacos haven’t contacted us with a an official offer for Jonas Valanciunas.  but I spoke to Dusan Ivkovic’s agent, who informed me that if Ivkovic was to become Olympiacos head coach, Valanciunas would be his second acquisition after Vassilis Spanoulis. That would be a resonant event in Greek basketball with a player switching sides between the two fiercest rivals. This will be the biggest splash of the summer.

As a Lithuanian club, we should be proud to have the most wanted European player in our team and allow him to play 30-35 minutes per night. Everything’s in Valanciunas’ hands. I think he’s more than ready to step up, just like Sabonis in his days. Valanciunas is a modern Sabonis, I have never seen anyone better among young centers in my career.

We’ll have to wait for more news about Valanciunas, but Ivkovic’s wants Jonas in the best European club, where he’ll have all the opportunities to improve with great teammates and to be coached by the best European coach. This would be the best scenario for him, but it would still happen only after a year at earliest. It doesn’t matter how much Olympiacos offers. It would be better for the Greek club to have Valanciunas play 30 minutes in Euroleague and to have him well prepared for his move to Greece. Olympiacos is the club to look for when it comes offering enough money to keep Valanciunas in Europe. Jonas is a typical European center. Of course, he might choose NBA – that’s his decision, but in my opinion Olympiacos have the money to keep him in Europe

I’d want to see him playing for the Reds for his entire career and if he wished to try his luck in the NBA, it would be best to do so when he’s 22-23 years old. He doesn’t need to be crushed in the NBA as Martynas Andriuskevicius was. Jonas should go to NBA as a star not as a prospect. Many Europeans had bad experiences over the Atlantic, I don’t want the same to happen with Jonas. Lietuvos Rytas doesn’t have the financial power to keep him happy. He’ll be better off in a stronger European team if Ivkovic coached it. This would be one of the conditions for the transfer.”

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