Posted December 03, 2011

Report: Jonas Valanciunas Could Play In NBA This Season

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Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas was drafted by the Toronto Raptors under the pretense that he would not play in the NBA during the 2011-12 season. Now, however, sources have told ESPN.com that Valanciunas may decide to play in the NBA this season.

The Raptors drafted Valanciunas 5th overall in the 2011 draft knowing that he would not be a part of the team until the following season. But a source told ESPN.com that the Raptors have contacted Valanciunas about coming over early and beginning his career with Toronto this season.

Valanciunas, 19, told NBA teams that he needed an extra year of professional basketball in Europe before coming stateside. But, after a summer playing professionally and the prolonged lockout, the Raptors decided to see if he was interested in playing in the abridged 2011-12 season.

If Valanciunas is interested, the Raptors would have to negotiate a buyout with his Lithuanian team.