One of the main reasons why a number of Utah Jazz fans wanted a more extreme finish to the NBA Draft (either one that got a top flight guard to help Dante Exum or a top flight center to spell Rudy Gobert) was because the Jazz seem to be most secure at forward. After all, that's where you see guys like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, and Trevor Booker. So when they drafted tweener forward Trey Lyles in the lotto it wasn't a best fit need. As the summer has progressed the team signed Raul Neto and seem to have found a $20 bill in the pocket of your old jeans in Bryce Cotton. Point guard looks great, especially with Dante's demonstrative takeover of the Utah Summer League. The last remaining big hole on the roster was for a legit bigman who can help the Jazz maintain their defensive focus while either Favors or Gobert (or both) were on the bench. The reports out yesterday from Yahoo! Sport's Adrian Wojnarowski seem to indicate that hole has been securely patched up. How?
Well, the Utah Jazz traded away Enes Kanter (who just got paaaaaiiid) for Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett, future picks, and the rights to some German dude who was -- because irony is amazing -- Ante Tomic's back up. Perkins was cut. Jerrett is injured. And those picks look to become two second rounders, and there's nothing too special about that. And that German guy is none other than Tibor Pleiss (aka Tibor Pleiß ). And that German guy is going to be playing for the Utah Jazz next season. Oh, and that German guy is a whopping 7'3.
Yahoo Sources: Utah finalizing three-year deal with Euro center TIbor Pleiss. http://t.co/SVBee2exJW— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2015
Woj explains that he is nearing in on a three year deal that will approach $10 million in total salary. Furthermore:
Pleiss, 25, has been one of the top centers in the Spanish ACB league and is only awaiting the completion of paperwork on the agreed-upon buyout with his Barcelona contract in order to sign with the Jazz early next week, league sources said.
Pleiss, a German, was the 31st overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft before his rights were traded three times, ultimately to the Jazz as part of the Enes Kanter trade in February. Pleiss has developed into one of Europe's better center prospects and is considered one of the best passing big men in the world. Oklahoma City Thunder officials tried to bring Pleiss to the NBA a year ago, but his buyout in the Spanish ACB League was still too prohibitive.
Our favorite guy Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, adds this:
The Jazz have been waiting for Pleiss's contract buyout with Barcelona to be finalized in order to sign him. Barca will receive $625,000 from the Jazz, according to Spanish website Mundo Deportivo.
The 25-year-old was recently in Utah for a week, spending time working out at the team's practice facility and speaking with Jazz brass about his future with the organization.
Pleiss left Utah without a contract, but that will be formalized in the near future. He is currently in Germany training with his national team for the upcoming EuroBasket 2015 tournament.
In a nice coincidence for the Jazz, Utah assistant Alex Jensen will join the German staff at the completion of the NBA Summer League.
Gobert just returned home to begin training with Les Bleus in France for the huge European tournament.
Pleiss will be the second international Jazz player the team has signed in less than a week. Utah inked a three-year deal with Brazilian point guard Raul Neto on Thursday.
Having Tibor over is a nice subtle communication to Ante, while also giving the team something they can still develop. (Can't teach a old dog new tricks, and Ante is closer to 30 than I am to 40.) (Wait, what am I saying here? How do I log into snapchat? What's an internet?) Tibor has been playing pro-ball since he was a wee lad (like Andrei Kirilenko), and yes, he's a 9 year vet at this point. But he's also still only going to be 26.02 years old by November 1st, 2015.
Being a part of this team will help him get better. And having him on the team means that the 30 remaining bigman minutes (or so) will be divided up into three solid rotation guys in Trevor Booker, Trey Lyles, and Tibor Pleiß. He's not going to get 20 mins a night or 2000 minutes during the season to max out his potential. But I don't think he has a maximum potential anymore. However, Tibor is talented, has size, and needs a fresh start.
He's a bigman with a soft jumper that needs to toughen out all over the place. Last season he had difficulty finding his way, got sideways with his head coach (Coaches' fault, not his), and essentially had the Andris Biedrins in a Jazz jersey of seasons. A new league, a new country, and a new team will help him get that fresh start that he really needs. He's not going to be better than Mehmet Okur or Zydrunas Ilgauskas. But he is an immediate size upgrade over Jack Cooley. And that's a start.
Seriously, what are other teams going to do? "Oh great, we got the 7'2 guy in foul trouble. Now they're bringing in the 7'3 guy!" I'll tell you what the other teams are going to do. They will break upon our defensive schemes like water upon rock. And they will lose a lot of games to the Utah Jazz.