Good news for the Houston Rockets has surfaced from ESPN.com's Chad Ford: Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas -- perhaps the only "true" center in lottery contention -- will likely stay overseas next season pending an official decision on his buyout terms.
Valanciunas update: Sources say buyout agreement close, however, buyout won't allow Valanciunas to play in NBA next season.
If Valanciunas can't play in NBA next year, he'll drop. Cavs won't take him at 4. Still I doubt he slips past the Rockets at 14.
This, my friends, is a fantastic stroke of luck for Daryl Morey. Finally, it appears he'll have a shot to go get himself a real center.
As Jonathan Feigen noted a few days ago, Houston is willing to wait on a prospect, should he stay overseas. The Rockets aren't in the market for immediate help. Sure, they won't complain if they emerge from the draft with a ready-to-play prospect, but for now, it's not a major bullet point on the to-do list.
Valanciunas is a 6-foot-11, 240-pound center out of Lithuania who could probably use another year in Europe to improve his game. He's got good touch around the rim, can rebound the ball and is a good shot blocker; in other words, he's an interior player, one of the few in this draft class. He would certainly be a steal for Houston at any pick outside the top five.
There is no telling how patient the teams ahead of Houston will be in evaluating Valanciunas, but at the very least, there is now a slight chance the Rockets won't have to deal one of their better players in order to get a top-five talent. Ladies and gentelman, this should be your new dream scenario.