Quiz: The NBA- and Euro-centric year in basketball, 2011-12

2011-12: The year of Spanoulis?

Quick! Before those memories of basketball championships European and NBA fade completely, take a brief look back at the season that was – one crazy one on The Continent that began with Tony Parker, Ty Lawson and Mehmet Okur playing over here and concluded with titles taken by King James and Emperor Spanoulis. Get out those pencils and take the BallinEurope quiz…

1. The 2011-12 Euroleague season:
a) was one of the greatest ever
b) was the greatest ever
c) proved Jordi Bertomeu’s contention that “we don’t need NBA imports to be a top-quality competition
d) was awesome, but man, i’m jonesing. When does the season start?

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Besiktas 80, Anadolu Efes 76: The BallinEurope review of a triple-crown season

Besiktas introduces Deron Williams: It seems like so long ago...

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, who capped a fascinating whirlwind run last night with an 80-76 victory over Anadolu Efes in game six of the TBL championship series. The Black Eagles may add the trophy to their Turkish Cup and FIBA Eurochallenge title in 2011-12, certainly the most successful – and among the most bizarre – seasons the club has ever experienced.

Beşiktaş’ season, like any power in club hoops, began in the summer. All they did to top last year’s high-profile signing of the ultimately marginal Allen Iverson was ink Deron Williams, a franchise guard at his peak, to the biggest contract in European basketball with an NBA out-clause when the player lockout was to be settled.

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The EuroChallenge Championship Curse: What of Beşiktaş’ future?

In this second piece of a two-part series, sportswriter/commentator Uygar Karaca again considers the EuroChallenge Championship Curse, with special reference to this year’s champions, Beşiktaş; unfortunately for the Eagles, Karaca feels a distressing amount of déjà vu…

In this article, I will try to answer the question as to whether Beşiktaş Milangaz fits into the framework of the “EuroChallenge Championship Curse.” Just to reminder for readers: A few days ago, I compiled a list of teams who won the FIBA EuroChallenge trophy and what happened to them thereafter. Many of these team’s fates were not very nice and unfortunately, one can fairly claim that Beşiktaş is walking a similar path.

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Revealed: The EuroChallenge championship curse

(image courtesy Hurriyet Daily News)

Yes, but *should* they be celebrating?

Winning the EuroChallenge title is a good thing, right? After all, it’s typically the first Continental trophy to display on the mantelpiece and the champions label wins the club to right to play in the more prestigious (and more big-bucks) Eurocup competition the following season.

Well, Uygar Karaca may convince believers otherwise. In the first of a two-part series for BallinEurope.com, Karaca flips through the pages of recent EuroChallenge history to reveal the success – or lack thereof – championship clubs have experienced directly following a title bid. Hint: It’s pretty bleak stuff after 2004. Sorry, Beşiktaş

Winning a competition, especially on the Continental level, is a great achievement. However, titles come with a price. When success exposes players to the market, for example, clubs with better offers take the stars away. Alternatively, in order to get a trophy, clubs sometimes spend more than they can afford, which triggers the process of eventual financial collapse.

In this article, I tried to see whether winning the FIBA EuroChallenge tournament signals brighter days for the club or rather indicates a peak with the way forward pointing downward. Continue Reading…


Thanks for the memories: Top performances by locked-out NBA players in Europe

BallinEurope bids adieu to the all-too-brief wackiness that was the ENBA: A period of time shorter than Allen Iverson’s career with Beşiktaş, though for a sweet, brief while it seemed like forever … ah, the feeling of a too-fast love affair dragged down by unfeeling reality, leaving only fond memories and bitter tears to … o, sorry. BiE got a bit wound up there.

In riding the wave of sentimentality to the shore, BiE today presents the virtual scrapbook of 10 favorite individual performances from locked-out NBA players. (Not included are those NBA guys who were off-season free agents; therefore no appearances by, say, Nenad Krstic, or, sadly, Adam Morrison are forthcoming.)

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Allen Iverson’s Las Vegas Superstar Challenge tournament postponed

Too bad: It might have been fun. Philadelphia-area (and, by this time, surely many more) news outlets are reporting that Allen Iverson’s Las Vegas Superstar Challenge scheduled for this weekend has been postponed due to Wednesday’s bargaining session between NBA franchise owners and the players’ union extending into Thursday morning.

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Watching the Las Vegas Superstar Challenge online

In the wake of the NBA lockout, those players from the big league not hawking their wares in Europe or elsewhere overseas are looking to schedule alternative games. Though a big-name international tour appears to be stalling at present, this weekend will see quite an exhibition in the four-team “Las Vegas Superstar Challenge” headed up by former Beşiktaş signee Allen Iverson.

While the game apparently won’t be broadcast on television, an outfit called iLinkSports.com is offering folks worldwide a chance to see the games involving names like Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Amare Stoudemire and Andre Iguodala online. See below for the press release detailing the deal; in short, $4.99 (just over €3.50 by today’s exchange rate) before Friday will get you a pass to see the Vegas games.

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NBA stars playing in Europe: What are the odds…?

You know Tony's coming over...

First, BallinEurope would like to a couple more American players to The Continent, as Milwaukee Bucks second-round draft pick Jon Leuer has signed with the Bundesliga’s Frankfurt Skyliners to play during the NBA lockout and undrafted Colorado State University forward Andy Ogide has joined the ranks of LEB club Breogán.

But as the BiE schadenfreudometer works overtime, the Euroleague Transfers Table loads up with NBA names (Hello, Mr. Farmar and bienvenue to you, Monsieur Batum!), and the working assumption currently figuring the big league to be playing an abbreviated schedule in 2011-12 at best, BallinEurope admits that he’s becoming spoiled about new news on NBA players jumping the Atlantic to play ball here.

And so, without too much hard fact recently on NBAers, marquee or otherwise, making said leap, BiE today presents odds on some players rumored to be plying their wares in Europe soon. Readers should note that these odds are offered at no bookmaker service and are completely arbitrary (which is to say mostly made up).

Dirk Nowitzki: 3/5. The incredible story of the Bayern München basketball club’s resurrection to primacy would be made complete by signing Dastardly Dirk, hero of the 2011 NBA Finals.

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“It is a fact”: Bits and bites on Deron Williams, Beşiktaş, NBA lockout

With BallinEurope temporarily stationed in the USA, the business-as-usual machinations of top European clubs and preparations of national teams for Eurobasket 2011 threaten to be lost in a squall of speculation about the NBA lockout – of which amazingly little progress is being seen, by the way. And so, BiE has a few bulleted thoughts, quips and links this morning (afternoon CET time) on Deron Williams and his ilk.

• If Williams in fact does suit up for Beşiktaş Cola Turka come September, won’t he be the first Team USA team member to play in Europe since the days of the (totally awesome) Dirty Dozen? Come to think of it, Trajan Langdon and the guys wouldn’t have even been in USA colors in 1998 had it not been for … a player lockout. Hmmm…

• As for Kobe Bryant joining D-Will and Zaza with Beşiktaş, American media is all over this story despite recent (assumed impermanent) sanctions against club. Coach Ergin Ataman’s quote is getting lots of play already before much of the country even awakens this morning: “It is a fact that Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us.”

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Besiktas Cola Turka backs off Kobe Bryant offer … for now

If Besiktas Cola Turka ends up running with the only NBA players on their squad for 2010-11 as Deron Williams and Zaza Pachulia in the wake of the NBA lockout, their fans can blame soccer.

Turkey-based NTV Spor, the sports news outlet which first broke the story of Besiktas’ contract offer to Williams, is today reporting that the signing of Bryant by the Eurocup club will be put on hold thanks to a scandal in the country’s football league. ESPN Los Angeles reports today that the match-fixing scandal will force Besiktas to look elsewhere for funding any new big-deal contracts due to penalties to be assessed to the club, one of a few cited in the case.

In speaking to reporters, after a meeting with UEFA officials, Turkey Football Federation deputy chairman Arıboğan Lutfi said that the possible punishment for the Besiktas sports club would be decided upon soon.

Bryant was reportedly offered a whopping $500,000 per month to play for Allen Iverson’s former team, and the Mamba in turn was asking for an even more whopping $1 million for his services.

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