Update: Deshaun Thomas will be playing for French team Nanterre.
Looking forward to a great opportunity to play in France with Nanterre this year. Appreciate all the good … http://t.co/NUPDXLIyL0
— DeShaun Thomas (@DT1UpNComin) August 16, 2013
San Antonio Spurs second-round draft pick Deshaun Thomas was reportedly close to a deal with CB Estudiantes, a Spanish club, according to multiple sources. The three-year Ohio State product is still testing the overseas market, though it may be with another team.
Thomas, swayed by a more promising situation, reportedly agreed to a deal with a French team according to the Columbus Dispatch's Bob Babptist — specific contract minutia, including yearly salary and the length of the deal (and team) is still unknown.
Just spoke with Deshaun Thomas. Better opportunity arose this afternoon and he has agreed to deal in France this season. More later. #buckbk
— Bob Baptist (@BBaptistHoops) August 15, 2013
San Antonio still withholds his draft rights during the duration of the deal, giving them a quasi development stable in which to monitor his progress. They can, essentially, reap the benefits without expending valuable money.
Instead, had Thomas pressed for a training camp roster spot, the Spurs would have been pinned into a corner, one without a viable solution — either tendering him a one-year guaranteed deal prior to the Sept. 6 deadline, swallowing up their final roster spot for a developmental project or relinquish his draft rights, with no return on their (admittedly low) investment.
The Spurs can't control his environment, and provide him with the optimal basketball ecosystem to thrive.
His European team can utilize Thomas in any role, regardless if it benefits his NBA organization. That's the downside. But it's better than the alternative.
Here's what Thomas had to say about the move to France.