The crew over at B92 got an extensive interview with super-agent Misko Raznatovic. The original piece is in Serbian but Saša Ozmo has translated it far better than Google can into English. Here are the highlights.
On Nemanja Nedovic and the Warriors
“I don’t know if he’s gonna get a proper chance – they’re promising he will, but we’ll see, he’s had a lot of injuries. I hope everything is gonna be all right.”
On him influencing the roster of Serbian national team
“That’s one of the things that makes me really angry. When Duda Ivkovic was Serbian coach, there were speculations that I’m putting the team together, which doesn’t make any sense. I mean, man of that age, with such a reputation – Duda and I hadn’t spent a second talking about it in the past, those speculations are ridiculous. People get those ideas because in football it works like that – since the seventies the agents have had a large influence on the national team.”
The World Cup takes place at the end of September, everyone have found new clubs by then – it doesn’t do much good, actually it can harm the players because they start the following season exhausted.
“I don’t have any particular interest for my players to be part of their national teams. This summer, if it weren’t for injuries and other things, I would have probably had six players in Serbian national team (Nedovic, Micic, Dangubic got injured, Velickovic couldn’t play, Djordjevic threw Micov out of the squad).”
On Nikola Pekovic and the Timberwolves
“I think he’ll have a similar role like last season – with Love gone, he might have a chance for a few more rebounds. He might even get to be a go-to guy more often.”
He’s stable and I believe he’ll be targeting the All-Star again.
On a club-agent relationship
“Agents need to be in touch with the clubs. Since I’ve been in the business for a long time now, that contact is more relaxed and frequent. I watch a lot of matches and I make my conclusions in terms what would one club need – then I suggest it, they listen, think it over and provide me with the answer. For instance, I thought Red Star needed a more mobile centre than Katic. They agreed, I offered 2 or 3 players, so did the other agents, and then they choose the player that suits them both in his basketball characteristics and financial terms.”
On new trends in basketball
Typical centers, tall and strong, they’re having big problems finding a new club. Coaches are more and more looking for centers who can defend guards off the pick ’n’ roll, undersized centers, athletic, players like Hines, Lasme or Dunston. If I had had 50 players with those abilities this summer, I would have sold 50. Unfortunately, players with those characteristics come almost exclusively from the USA.”
Today when they come to me and say: ’Misko, I have a kid 14 years old, 207 cm tall, he’s going to be 215 cm’, I say that I’m not interested. I don’t believe in that kind of basketball anymore, actually it doesn’t matter if I believe it or not, that kind of basketball doesn’t do the thing anymore.
On him helping Partizan and Red Star
“I helped them a lot signing some players that are really good so the teams could look the way they should. Last example is Marcus Williams – nobody believed that he could come to Red Star, including even people from the club. But in communication I sensed that something could be worked out for a lower price than before. Some things came together and he is now in Belgrade, which is a really big deal. I never speak about the salary, but it’s lower than it used to be.”
On bad image agents tend to have in the public
“Nobody likes the idea of some random guys earning money from basketball, even though they are neither coaches nor players. I am convinced that no serious basketball competition would be possible without agents. The regulations are extremely complicated and they are not getting any simpler. In addition to that, clubs have financial problems, they do not pay regularly because of the global financial situation. Players must be protected. What would it look like if players had to spend 20 per cent of their time making phone calls, checking if the payment had been made? I would like to see one summer without agents and what they would do then? How would they even communicate with the players? Where would they get their phone numbers, how would they get in touch with the? I am absolutely sure that the existence and the presence of agents in basketball today is of critical importance and that their role is very important in the entire process.”