April 19, 2014

Cavs’ Eyenga Signs Three-Year Deal… In Spain?

Christian EyengaThough unconfirmed at this point, reports are circulating that recent first-round selection Christian Eyenga has inked a three-year deal with the Spanish DKV Joventut – the team most notable for point guard Ricky Rubio.

When Eyenga was drafted, many fans claimed that the selection was for the future.  The plan seemed to be that if the Cavaliers drafted a raw, foreign player, he could stay overseas for the short-term and not be a burden in any way on the team’s salary cap.

Eyenga then suited up for the Cavaliers’ summer league team, and turned a few heads with his very athletic play.  The main argument against the native of Congo was that he had periods where he would look like the best player on the floor, and then follow them up with moments where he looked like he had never played organized basketball before in his life.  The team began to feel that if he could be put on an NBA training program, especially in the weight training area, that he could add muscle and become even more explosive.

There were grumblings that the team could sign him this year, instead of keeping him overseas, and start the process early – perhaps with the Erie Bayhawks of the Development League.  Brian Windhorst reports that the team was planning on signing Eyenga to the requisite two-year, $2 million contract to get the proverbial ball rolling on the 20-year old’s development.  One just has to wonder if Eyenga was aware of this.  It should be noted that there are no details as to the structure of the reported deal.

Given this, one would surmise that the team was not expecing Eyenga to sign with the Spanish team.  Of course, this also assumes that the current circulating reports are accurate.

A three-year deal may have quite a buyout/opt-out amount up front, unless Eyenga was able to negotiate a lower dollar amount.

As a fan, I am not too concerned about this report for a few reasons.  Off of the top, no one was anticipating Eyenga on contributing anything this season.  In fact, the consensus opinion post-draft was that the swing man would be overseas this season; the fact that he signed with a team that produced a top-flight point guard doesn’t hurt matters much.   Remember, a lot of criticism came due to Eyenga’s previous team as it was widely considered to be “JV” compared to DKV Joventut.

Those that are not thrilled with this move have a right to be unhappy.  Ideally, it would be best if the Cavaliers decided Eyenga’s fate based on what they had planned for the team over the next three years.  If Eyenga made this move without consulting the team prior, there could undoubtedly be some tension.

Of course, if the opt-out amount is more than Eyenga would be willing to pay before the end of the three-year deal, this decision would prove to be not as favorable from the Cavaliers standpoint.  Ricky Rubio’s (now well-documented) buyout was for $6 million.  If the Cavaliers were looking to sign him for $1 million per year, and they can only contribute $500,000 towards the cause, things may get a bit sticky.

For now, it would be best to await confirmation of said rumors.  Once confirmed, the devil will be in the details.

(Update: Eyenga has opt-out option after one year)

  • Andrew S

    The initial story i read on this contract said Eyenga may be able to negotiate a smaller buyout clause due to his success. I believe the rationale was that Eyenga could use the rumors of the Cavs signing him now to say to Joventut I want a big contract with a small buyout or else I wont play in Spain. Hopefully some more details are released soon.

  • Boomhauer

    He wasn’t going to contribute for at least the next 2 years with Parker and Moon signed, so it’s not a big deal.

  • Kevin Hignett

    @Boomhauer – I agree, but the size of the buyout could be a big detail. Say Eyenga is ready after the first or second year and the Cavs want him; they might be stuck waiting another year because of a huge buyout number. I’ve heard of a couple NBA teams who want to bring over guys they have stashed in Europe, but nobody can afford to pay the buyout.

    I just don’t like a situation where the Cavs lack the control to make a move they want, when they want it. As we’ve all figured out in the NBA, timing is everything. Plus, they don’t eat in Europe or lift weights, apparently. And Eyenga needs another 5-10 pounds of muscle to play in the NBA. I’d rather have him in Erie on the D-League team, lifting like a 20-year old animal and eating steak.

    Oh well.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Did you say steak?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    “Plus, they don’t eat in Europe or lift weights, apparently. And Eyenga needs another 5-10 pounds of muscle to play in the NBA. I’d rather have him in Erie on the D-League team, lifting like a 20-year old animal and eating steak.”

    It’s 11:34 and we have a serious candidate for comment of the day.

  • Windy City Wahoo

    So you’re telling me I should cancel the pre-order I put in for the Eyenga Cavs jersey?

  • Kevin Hignett

    @Scott – No, I said MIS-stake! MIS-stake!!!! LOL

  • Isis

    This should be no surprise to anyone, least of all the Cavs who orchestrated this event. Eyenga will NEVER suit up for the Cavs-he was drafted to avoid paying precious salary cap dollars in this and future years for a slot that offered nothing more than those available in round two. The Lakers did the exact same thing with their pick, unloading it for a box of Amy Joy donuts.

    Danny Green is the player the Cavs obviously wanted on the roster, without the guarantee-so let’s see what he can offer. (since I live near Brainard Place, this better not be the ghost of Danny Green).

  • Chris M

    @ Isis – I couldn’t help but think the exact same thing when I heard the Cavs drafted him.

  • frenchy

    well first of all, you’ve got to understand that the d-league is a crappy league compared to what european leagues(and especially the spanish league) has to offer.

    Eyenga will learn a lot in europe on the game. The European schedule is much lighter which means plenty of time for practice. And if in Europe you don’t have as much athletic freaks as in the NBA it’s because 1) the athletic players play in the NBA and 2) because the Euopean game is more of a finesse game, where shooting and BBIQ and so on is more valued than athleticism (the example of josh childress’ season is perfect).

    So this move is very clever for both Eyenga and the cavs.

    The issue of buyouts is an aberration which should be solved by the NBA and european leagues. Here there aren’t trades, only free agents or buy outs, so european clubs dont want to lose their best players for nothing(which is understandable). But is a player really wants to leave he always can, see Luis Scola.

  • frenchy

    *if a player really wants to leave* and at the beginning *have to offer* sorry

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  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Post is updated with news of one-year opt out clause.

  • Ricky

    Since there is an opt-out, this is perfect for the Cavs. He will play against better competition than in the D-League and hopefully will play very significant minutes. While I share Isis’ concern that he will never play with the Cavs, that remains to be seen, and until then we can only judge what happens, and this deal is good for Eyenga and the Cavs

  • Kevin Hignett

    The deal sounds much better with the opt out clause than the originally reported deal. Should work out fine whether he plays for the Cavs at any point or not.

    I still say he needs to lift weights and eat more, but that likely won’t happen in Europe. If/When he does join the Cavs, he’ll still be way too skinny to contribute right away.

  • S-Dub

    The opt-out clause is actually after every year. Windy said he’ll probably play 2 years in Spain then come over here. Develop a Jumper and learn some handles kid. Then get ready to be Scottie to LeBron’s Jordan.

  • AMC

    Windy tweeting that Moon contract was for 3 years for about 3 mil per year with the final year Ferry special partial guarantee that now seems to be in every new Cavalier contract. If Miami matches that, they’ll be making a rather large commitment to a guy who would have major competition for minutes.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that Miami does the logical thing and let’s Jamario become a Cavalier tomorrow at noon…