In May, concerns were raised that Vaccaro aimed too high, that if Tyler landed on too good a team, he'd spend two years wallowing on the bench. Coaches in Europe can't afford to allow their top teams to suffer growing pains for the benefit of an American who will leave at first chance.
Well, Tyler reportedly has a team -- Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia -- and DraftExpress's Jonathan Givony thinks it's a bad idea.
Givony tweeted the news and his instant reaction Friday night.
Mixed reactions on Jeremy Tyler to Olimpija news. Unstable club financially many say, extremely difficult to find Americans who succeeded[.] My prediction? Tyler will be back in States by the new year, likely to play in the D-League. Adriatic League is no place for a high schooler[.]The Adriatic League is business, having served as the farm system for many Slavic players of NBA note. The club league is well-stocked. Never mind the Euroleague, where Jennings barely got a taste last season, and where Tyler will open his pro career in October against teams like CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
This isn't to say Tyler isn't ready: perhaps he will do fine in Slovenia. Height is an asset you can't ignore. But the difference between Olimpija and, say, Louisville or the Clippers, is that there is no incentive for Olimpija to develop Tyler (unless you think he'll be bringing a club title home to Ljubljana at age 18) whereas Rick Pitino and Mike Dunleavy depend on developing their young players for future success. This is where the European flight experiment breaks down.
Givony reports Tyler will make $150,000 per year for three seasons, with a $400,000 buy-out available after the 2010-11 season. (Tyler is eligible for the 2011 NBA draft.) Assuming Tyler could have signed a smaller, two-year contract to avoid the buy-out situation, that reeks of Vaccaro attempting to stick it to the NBA. Teams can pay up to $500,000 of an acquired player's buy-out; that $400,000 buy-out conveniently falls under that level, and equates to what is effectively a raise on the rookie salary scale.
As for the D-League, if things truly go to seed in Ljubljana: I hope there's a condition of the contract not yet reported, because the top D-League salary isn't quite $30,000. Not exactly what Tyler had in mind, I'm sure.