Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++

BC Khimki crisis update: Strike is on, but players practicing independently until Friday

The plot thickens. With the players apparently not willing to grant the BC Khimki front office another week to sort out its financial mess, the roster is reportedly now officially on strike. Russia-based blogger Vladimir Spivak of provided a few updates on Twitter at about noon CET today. Spivak tweeted word from Zoran Planinic, writing that “It’s a strike, according to Zoran Planinic. He refused to answer if he had any offers from other clubs on the table.

On the other hand, camaraderie still exists among the Khimki players, for though “Khimki’s players haven’t received any financial guarantees and will train on their own throughout the week before facing Maccabi on Friday.” And Spivak summarizes, “Overall the players are ready to wait for some more time because they have amazing chemistry in the team and want to win something this season.

As always, stay tuned…

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On BC Khimki crisis: Desperate plans made; club president meets with players; an ocean without water

BallinEurope was going to run its Euroleague Power Rankings — and perhaps a paean to Dimitris Diamantidis’ deceptively excellent play in Panathinaikos’ win over Unicaja Malaga last week — this morning, but a greater issue calls. BiE feels a rant coming on, so let’s present part one of the power rankings for the week, instead. We’ll do this in reverse order this time, starting the list with…

16 (↓↓↓). BC Khimki Moscow region (2-1 Euroleague Top 16, 7-5 overall; 8-3 VTB United League). Why, despite a solid win against PGE Turow in the VTB yesterday and decent play (at least for 30 minutes) last week against scary-hot Bobby Brown and Montepaschi Siena? Why else but finances, that bane of existence for apparently nearly every basketball club in Europe in the ’10s…?

(image courtesy of VTB United League)

BC Khimki fans at PGE Turow match

Within a few hours, the entire roster of BC Khimki is set to strike, thanks to the club’s failure to pay player salaries for three months; naturally, this paucity points to greater financial realities and the VTB League’s official site brings us to the reality of Khimki’s extinction: “One of the most interesting teams in Russia, and all of Europe, might cease to exist in the near future in the form we know it now.”

The VTB piece diplomatically goes on to note that “According to the press, Khimki’s financial problems arose after they changed presidents.” (More on this below.)

The decision was announced earlier in the week and this morning quotes an unnamed player as stating yesterday that “It seems we have reached a deadlock. We still haven’t received notice from the board that we will get the money.”

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God created Zadar basketball, Adam Smith may have killed it

God may have created man and Zadar basketball (“Bog je stvorija čovika, a Zadar košarku,” goes the team’s motto), but 81 years of tradition and in fact perhaps the birthplace of organized basketball in Croatia are about to meet with a purely manmade force: Economics.

The financial situation in KK Zadar has reportedly become desperate enough to elicit a public appeal from City Hall to local businessmen to bail out the club.

Mayor Zvonimir Vrančić yesterday publicly announced that KK Zadar was nearly 40 million Croatian kunas (approximately €5.5 million/$7.5 million) in debt, that the city was in no position to cover the shortfall, and that dissolution of all club assets – excepting Krešimir Ćosić, which would remain municipal property – was quite a real possibility.

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Zalgiris Kaunas stays alive and what a story!

We heard lots of stories and rumors about Zalgiris Kaunas and its eventual bankruptcy these days. But now it’s official: Zalgiris Kaunas has been saved and will continue to exist. No players will leave the team and the Euroleague retains its participant from Lithuania. But what has really happened that the traditional green powerhouse has come into this situation?

The long story began in spring last year when Lietuvos Rytas, archrival of Zalgiris Kaunas, lost in the Lithuanian league finals against Zalgiris, meaning that Zalgiris was sure to be at the top of the national qualifying ranking for the Euroleague and would earn the license for the next three years to play in the best European competition. With the proposed new Euroleague system currently under discussion, this would have meant that Zalgiris would get the license as the permanent Lithuanian team in the Euroleague. Lietuvos Rytas would of course not like this to happen.

The summer went on, and Zalgiris awaited their annual payment of 5.2 million Litas from the municipality of Kaunas to ensure their budget. But the money did not arrive. The city of Kaunas budget was also not in the best situation and so was forced to take a bank loan in order to fulfill their contract with the Basketball team. But no bank was ready at that moment to supply such a loan due to the market situation. Additionally, Lithuanian newspapers were reporting that the banking situation was pretty tough. Nobody wanted to risk a situation in which people stormed the banks in order to take all their money back in cash.

On the other hand, with governmental elections then just ahead (they were held last Sunday), no politico wanted to state publicly that the banks should support Zalgiris and provide the loan. They spoke about the tradition of Zalgiris and that they wanted to help, but nothing really happened. Why? The most important media group in Lithuania is Lietuvos Rytas, the sponsor of Zalgiris’ archrival: No politician wanted to risk negative press just before the elections and ruin his/her ambition by supporting Zalgiris through more than rhetoric.

With the elections now over, the deadlock in the situation could be broken. The city of Kaunas attempted to find a compromise with the banks to set up financing for the contracted 5.2 million litas. By using a city-owned company that contracts a 2.5 million loan, the municipality makes the necessary step in fulfilling the initial requirements of their deal. This gives the team the opportunity to pay its players and nobody to leave. The second part of the agreement will be set up in the next few days, while Zalgiris has the necessary funding to play its season. The entire management board of Zalgiris is to step down and a new GM named.

Zalgiris Kaunas is and will stay alive. And that’s the most important thing: Most fans don’t care about the background work undertaken by officials during the last days and hours, and simply want to see their team win games. But a whole lot of work is still ahead for the new management, and I guess that we’ll yet be hearing more about this soon.


Relegation is not that obvious (Part 2)

After having analyzed the situation in France, I’ll take a closer look at the relegation and promotion process this year in Germany. And as you will see, this is even more complex than the situation in France.

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Relegation is not that obvious (Part 1)

Normally in European basketball, relegation is a common fact. Depending on the league’s structure, the two or three teams finishing last move one division down and the same number of teams move up from the lower division. Well, this is not so true for specific leagues in Europe.

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