US-born forward Dijon Thompson and German powerhouse ALBA Berlin announced today that they have stopped their collaboration by mutual consent. A few days before the playoffs and without any further opportunity to make changes to the roster, this move may surprise. So what happened?
The rumor mill started today around noon on the boards of the German website schoenen-dunk, where a previously unknown user posted the story that the former UCLA Bruin would be kicked out of the team. The team was in Hamburg this last weekend for the Top 4 tournament and only went for the fourth place. Frustration must have been all-around, and Dijon’s play has not been that greatly appreciated for weeks, but Manager Marco Baldi said not later than four days ago about Thompson:
Dijon has [had] a very difficult season. Always when he had a run, he got injured or sick. He is a player of great quality who is in Europe for the first time and does not know about the pressure here.
So there must have been some “unacceptable things” that have happened in Hamburg for Dijon Thompson to be ejected and already flying back home to Los Angeles. Or as ALBA writes in the official press release:
There have been incidents that especially at this moment, just ahead of the decisive phase of the championship, are not acceptable.
The funniest, however, is the “team” that a forum member (thx muellmann) has established with 10 players that were supposed to play for Berlin this season but for one reason or another are not with the Albatrosses anymore:
PG: Goran Jeretin, Martynas Mazeika
SG: Vujadin Subotic
SF: Dijon Thompson, Koko Archibong
PF: Chris Owens, Slavko Stefanovic
C: Jovo Stanojevic, Michael Bradley, Thomas Campaore
But besides all these problems, ALBA will finish the regular season at the top of the standings and attack the playoffs in order to win finally back the Champions trophy and qualify for the Euroleague again.