For readers of Greek out there, Sport.gr is running an interesting piece on the subject of available big-name free agents, comparing the ACB to the EΣAKE and Team Spain to Team Greece while taking a hard look at the possibility of top names playing with Panathinaikos or Olympiacos for 2010-11.
Beginning with the premise that in the last 10 years, no Spanish international has ever played Greece’s top league, Sport.gr first blames the relative paucity of the Greek economy in recent years (those Angelopoulos boys notwithstanding). However, as BiE once postulated, entering contract discussions at this time of year is the incipient violence at certain matches – particularly Reds vs. Greens.
Josh Childress recently gave his thorough take on the incident in the Greek League finals to Arizona media, culminating in the punchline “One of my buddies got hit by a bottle full of urine and [feces], basically.”
BiE surmised at the time of the fateful game that the incident might drive away the American players who simply aren’t used to this sort of, um, devotion – does stuff like this happen even in the ‘Hood? – but Sport.gr contends that the championship riot was a fundamental reason in “sending Nikola Pekovic to freezing Minnesota” (“Σύμφωνα, μάλιστα, με πληροφορίες του SPORT 24 ένας από τους λόγους –ίσως όχι ο βασικότερος- που έστειλε τον Νίκολα Πέκοβιτς στην «παγωμένη» Μινεσότα ήταν τα έκτροπα στον τέταρτο τελικό Ολυμπιακός – Παναθηναϊκός στο ΣΕΦ”) as well.
And while Linas Kleiza hasn’t publicly commented on the incident, no one can convince BiE that this was the way the new Toronto Raptor wanted to end his inaugural professional season in Europe:
On the Rudy Fernandez front, Sport.gr reports that a source has informed them via text message: “I do not know which team Rudy will play for next year, but he’s very likely to return to Europe!” (“Δεν ξέρω σε ποια ομάδα θα παίξει του χρόνου ο Ρούντι, αλλά θεωρώ πολύ πιθανή την επιστροφή του στην Ευρώπη!”)
Team Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo also believes Fernandez will be coming back to Euroleague basketball: “I spoke with him a week ago,” said the coach, “and he said only that he wants to leave the NBA and return to Europe.” Scariolo seems to think Fernandez’ real choice comes down to one between Panathinaikos, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Fernandez also confirmed that he’d been contacted by Panathinaikos officials about playing there; back in the ‘States, the Spanish national reportedly handed his current bosses a wish list of five teams for which he’d like to play in the NBA: the New York Knicks, Miami Heat (imagine that), Boston Celtics, and New Jersey Nets.
On the Continent, clubs associated with Fernandez have included Real Madrid, Caja Laboral Baskonia, and his reportedly preferred FC Barcelona in addition to the top Greek teams.
Thanks to reader Mika for the tip on this story!