He is blossoming into one of the best centers on the European circuit, and the demand for him is believed to be growing stronger each season. He has two years remaining on his original four-year contract and has put himself in position to capitalize financially with a lucrative contract on his next deal.
But more and more, the German big man looks ready to bring his talents across the water.
Pleiss, 24, averaged 12 points, 5.4 rebounds and one block in 21 minutes per game this season. He started 21 of 24 games after averaging 14.2 minutes and starting just four out of 25 last season.
Should he join the Thunder for the 2015-16 season, Pleiss will be 26 at the start of that season, the same age Tiago Splitter was midway through his first season with San Antonio in 2010-11. The Spurs employed a similar “draft-and-stash” approach with Splitter, leaving him playing internationally for three years before bringing him to the NBA.
Splitter agreed to a three-year, $11 million deal with San Antonio, a deal that was signed as a free agent deal rather than a rookie scale contract because Splitter signed with the Spurs three years after being drafted. As a second-round selection, Pleiss also wouldn’t be subject to a mandatory rookie scale deal. It could drive up the price for Pleiss even more if he enjoys another standout season in Spain next season.