A guaranteed, multiyear deal for 7-foot-1 second-round draft choice Kyrylo Fesenko to leave his Ukrainian team and join the Utah Jazz family is so close to being done that Fesenko underwent parts of his Jazz physical Monday, according to two sources within and close to the team.
Fesenko, the 20-year-old who showed great promise during the Rocky Mountain Revue last month, has stayed in Utah and has been working out at the Zion's Bank Basketball Center, living in a hotel and learning the city in hopes that his half-million-dollar buyout from his Ukrainian team could get done. Fesenko was drafted with the 33rd pick on June 28 by the Philadelphia 76ers for Utah.
The Jazz spent some time deciding whether to bring him onto their roster this year or to leave him in the Ukraine for further seasoning. If they wait, the buyout next year will be $1 million. But unless there's an unforeseen snag in the talks, Fesenko should sign a Jazz deal, perhaps this week.
Six different entities have been involved in the negotiations, and wording must be translated between two languages and then re-translated for counterproposals, making for a couple of weeks of serious talks.
Not only are the Jazz, Fesenko and his agent, Jason Levien, involved, but also the NBA, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the Ukrainian basketball federation and the Ukrainian team, Cherkaski Mavpi, said Jazz senior vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor, who would not talk further about the negotiations.
Levien also refused comment.
But clearly, things are getting down to the final wording and final small sticking points, prompting the Jazz to begin Fesenko's official physical.
Fesenko is due to return to Ukraine through New York on Wednesday, said Levien, who plans to meet him there. But according to one source, the team might keep him in Salt Lake City until the contract is ready for signing. Fesenko plans to return to Salt Lake on Sept. 2 if all is set with his contract.
Fesenko could play for the Jazz this season, or he could be sent to Utah's NBDL team, the Utah Flash, depending upon how well he plays during training camp, which begins Oct. 1.
Levien said his client is used to a two-tiered system, with A and B teams, in the Ukraine, so he would be happy to play either place.
Fesenko had planned to play for the Ukrainian senior national team in the European championships this fall, but Levien said he will not do so, preferring to concentrate on his Jazz career. Fesenko played for the Ukrainian junior team in the 2005 under-20 European championships in Moscow, averaging 6.8 points and 6.9 rebounds. He also played in 2004 for the under-18 Ukraine team at the Euro championships in Spain, averaging 12 points and 6.6 rebounds.