SALT LAKE CITY — A big, 7-foot-2 German arrived in Salt Lake City late Saturday night, and he just might be a regular in these parts depending on what happens during his visit.
While in Utah, FC Barcelona center Tibor Pleiss will spend time discussing the possibility of joining the Jazz for this upcoming season.
Pleiss currently plays in a Spanish league (Liga ACB), but there is mutual interest in having the 25-year-old begin his NBA career with the Jazz if the two sides can come to an agreement.
The Jazz acquired the NBA rights to Pleiss, the 31st pick of the 2010 draft, from Oklahoma City in February as part of the Enes Kanter trade.
Even after drafting Kentucky big man Trey Lyles on Thursday, the Jazz are in need of a solid backup at center for Rudy Gobert.
There are multiple intriguing aspects to Pleiss' game for Utah, including his length, his ability to finish big at the basket and his outside shooting. Pleiss is an excellent perimeter shooter, having finished in the top 20 for free-throw percentage in Europe last season at 84.85 percent.
It's uncertain if Pleiss will participate with the Jazz in their two summer leagues (Utah and Las Vegas), but he will likely have a busy offseason with basketball as he is expected to play for the German national team.
There is a very nice Jazz connection to that international-playing opportunity, considering Utah assistant coach Alex Jensen has been invited to help coach the German national team.
That would give Pleiss a headstart to begin working with Jensen, whose primary duty on the Jazz staff is coaching the bigs.
The Jazz currently have four bigs under contract: Gobert, Derrick Favors, Grant Jerrett and Lyles. Power forward Trevor Booker will most likely end up back in Utah for a second year, but the Jazz have until July 15 to exercise its team option on his $4.8 million deal for 2015-16.
Pleiss, who's from Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, has extensive international playing experience. He began playing for the Koln 99ers in the German League as a teenager and has played for multiple teams in Germany and Spain.
Pleiss also has played for German national teams since 2007.
Most recently, Pleiss averaged 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13 minutes per game for Barcelona as Tomic's backup. Despite his terrific size, Pleiss only averaged 0.1 blocks per game this past season.
The Jazz have been interested in getting 28-year-old Tomic to play for the team after drafting him 44th overall in 2008. However, the 7-foot-2 Croatian player recently signed a three-year extension with Barcelona, putting an end to speculation about him possibly giving the NBA a go.
Utah also received rookie forward Jerrett, since-waived center Kendrick Perkins and 2017 second-round picks from Oklahoma City and Detroit in the trade that gave the Jazz Pleiss' rights.