BiE’s editor takes the ice bucket challenge, nominates Basketball Ireland boss +++ Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power +++ The Dream Team’s children +++ Highlights: Belgium beat Belarus, Germany stay alive +++ EuroBasket 2015: Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, and Latvia lock up spots +++ First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++ 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 +++

Rudy Fernandez: D’Antoni “doesn’t understand Pau Gasol,” “one of the world’s best centers”

Pau Gasol, Rudy FernandezWith so many observers, players and blogosphere fanatics weighing in on both perpetual trade-bait Pau Gasol and his currently sorry-looking Los Angeles Lakers, it’s no surprise that Spanish-language media outlets have taken to speaking with Pau’s Team Spain teammate Rudy Fernandez on the maddening situation.

In a piece appearing in El Confidencial under the headline quote “Pau Gasol is going through a difficult time because D’Antoni does not understand,” Fernandez defended the Laker further by explaining that Gasol “still brings things to the team and has a good philosophy to help the team.” In an echo of steadily increasing murmurs and related posts online, Fernandez believes that making Pau a jump shooter is not playing to the Spaniard’s strengths.

Spain-based Blog de Basket expounded a bit further on Rudy’s remarks made on the radio, quoting the Madridista as explaining that “…D’Antoni is a coach who likes to play with [a faster, small-ball game] and Pau does not. He has proven to be one of the best centers the world and if you pass it inside, he’s going to take something safe, but D’Antoni doesn’t understand this and Pau shoots [from outside].”

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Around the world with NBA Live, Euroleague American tour

The NBA Live Europe tour begins tonight when the New York Knicks visit AJ Milano; tomorrow sees the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in London and Maccabi Haifa visiting the New Jersey Nets. All in all, the exchange program between the two big leagues will see nine games played in four countries, with the headline game certainly the informal world championship pitting Euroleague titlists FC Barcelona against the Lakers on Thursday.

BallinEurope collected a few stories, links, YouTubes and such for your perusal this Sunday.

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Timofey Mozgov vows “I will prove myself in the NBA”; no word from Knicks on FIBA Worlds

How did the Knicks scoop the Nets on this one? And does Mikhail Prokhorov know about this?

The New York Times, among other sources, reported last night that BC Moscow Khimki region center Timofey Mozgov has signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the New York Knicks.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, for as the Times notes, “Few were aware that Mozgov would be willing or able to step out of his contract with [BC Khimki Moscow region].” Like Lebron, though, Mozgov may have known all along, stating that his agent had been in discussions with New York management for months beforehand prior to the NBA Draft.

“I really focused on the Knicks,” said Mozgov. “And I did not focus on the Nets because the Nets would take longer to rebuild. I liked Mike D’Antoni’s system better than the Nets’.”

The just-turned 24-year-old logged time with Team Russia’s U20s and University National Team before attracting international attention in the 2009 Eurobasket tournament, where in nine games Mozgov went for 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 23.2 minutes per, including an 18-point game against Croatia:

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Kahn reiterates: Rights to Rubio are untouchable

Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn reiterated his bold stand on the team’s overall no. 5 NBA draft pick, Spanish wunderkind Ricky Rubio, to the Minnesota Star-Tribune last night.

To wit: Rubio is untouchable in this off-season.

The move by the man they sometimes call KAAAAAAAAAAAAHN prompted Star-Tribune writer Jerry Zgoda to collect quotes on Rubio from some big names in the NBA. If you think BallinEurope is gushy about the Spaniard, check out what folks like King James, Kobe, Pau, Marcin Gortat, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Mike D’Antoni and Flip Saunders have to say about him.

(Here’s the summary: Rubio will be anywhere from “good” to “special” to “amazing” in the NBA; his basketball IQ is well above average; has leadership qualities to go with the proverbial tremendous upside; and his sole weakness appears to be general strength and conditioning.)

More story – and obligatory video featuring the Human YouTube Clip himself, this one with soundtrack by Duran Duran (i know, i know) – below the break.

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Mark your calendars: Teams, dates for 2011 NBA Europe Live tour set

Who says it’s too far away to be thinking about the 2011 NBA Europe Live tour? Not BallinEurope, certainly, and apparently not EA Sports, Euroleague and the NBA: The organizations have released information on participating teams – and o boy, they’re good – for the October event.

The NBA teams playing in the annual hypefest are (drumroll please) the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves (hmm, one wonders why on this one; surely it has nothing to do with the team’s infamous Spain-residing first-round draft pick) and the New York Knicks. Representing The Continent will be – you guessed it – FC Barcelona, as well as AJ Milano.

Milano and Barça will be hosts for the event, holding court for the Knicks and Lakers, respectively. Lakers-Timberwolves and Knicks-Timberwolves games will be played in London and Paris.

BiE will let you know when tickets go on sale … we’re half-expecting that to be next week sometime. Official press release unofficially condensed (and, for no good reason, a YouTube clip of the Lakers-Barcelona game that was part of the 2008 tour) follows the break.

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Being Danilo Gallinari (in the NBA)

Gallo of the good old days?

Gallo of the good old days?

We all know the NBA needs specialists, and that this is a request asked particularly of non-American players who haven’t the status in the ‘States to claim balls and minutes while they’re newly arrived from Europe. Then, by fighting for minutes against and using smarts beyond the US players, young European players soon present more balanced games week to week to increase their stay on floor, even if sometimes months are needed before someone notices.

Now that European basketball has grown up, these rules are no longer necessarily valid, because the gap between a Dirk Nowitzki and a Kevin Garnett – technically – isn’t as wide as 10-15 years ago. It’s easy to see a European star going to the NBA and playing the same basketball played before, with nearly the same minutes and responsibilities: This was the case with Pau Gasol, Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, and Luis Scola.

In contrast is Danilo Gallinari. As the no. 6 overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, Gallinari came to New York as probably the best 20-year-old swingman of his class, with a Euroleague 2008 Rising Star Trophy on his résumé. A mixture of height, sweet hands, quick feet and impudence, we used to say the former Milano forward was ready to follow in the footsteps of Turkoglu, the player he most closely resembled in skill. After a bad season characterized by his own back problems and the Knicks’ continuing struggles, Gallinari is today a new man.

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New Knicks coach: Mike D’Antoni – Gallinari to New York?

One of the 50 greatest contributors to European club Basketball is the new head coach of the New York Knicks. No, not Dan “Coach” Peterson, who is a humourous commentator also on this list, but just not the new New York Knicks coach. describes Mike D’Antoni as a charismatic playmaker with great court vision and leadership” - sounds like what people said about former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, doesn’t it? All the best Mike, we just hope you don’t end up like this one day.

Oh well, we’ll see and we’re pretty sure that the Knicks will be a better team with Olimpia Milano star Mike D’Antoni.

One more interesting thing about the Euroleague-NBA-Milano connection, if any: On May 20th, we will officially know the 2008 NBA draft order. So maybe Danilo Gallinari of Olimipa Milano who declared himself to the NBA draft and is predicted to be a Top 10 draft pick, could be heading to New York…?