Zalgiris Kaunas is THE team of Lithuania. Tradition and success are the two words that you connect with the Green team from the Kauno sporto hale. But this season started pretty badly for head coach Rimantas Grigas’ guys: A big 88-70 Baltic League loss in Riga was probably the most obvious sign that something is wrong with this team.
After being defeated by Valmiera on the weekend, this second consecutive defeat against a team that should not be considered a tough opponent for a Euroleague team is raising some question marks. Willie Deane did not play against ASK Riga despite suiting up and with Mantas Kalnietis injured, the 1989-born Zygimantas Janavicius had to play 34 minutes. Loren Woods was on the court for just four miserable minutes which ended with his ejection after these actions. Additionally, Paulius Jankunas got injured, but all of this could not be used as an excuse for the defeats. And coach Grigas is pointing out some of the troubles that Zalgiris is currently facing:
We’re preparing for Euroleague, but the problems are caused by lack of players and other issues. There was a possibility that we wouldn’t go to game. So it’s more our loss than Riga’s win today, because we hadn’t enough resources to fight for a win. About money – there have been promises to fix this situation for two months already and I hope that they will be realized.
Clearly, Zalgiris lacks money. They were not even sure about going to Valmiera, nor to Riga in order to play their games. Rumors say that these words are only to put pressure on the local government in order to receive some funding to overcome a shortcoming, but several times already has the traditional Lithuanian club faced this kind of problem. The situation seems so dramatic that administrators of Lithuanian Wikipedia have even blocked the possibility of editing the team’s Lithuanian Wikipage to avoid spam and false rumors.
We’ll keep an eye on the next steps in this story…