Vladimir Radmanovic: "My status on the team improves with Weiss"
Vladimir Radmanovic: I don’t think that we made any significant progress in the last two days [the interview was made Wednesday] after I got back here from Serbia. We had two long sessions of conversation Monday and Tuesday, which served for me to convey where I stand and what my conditions are – financial and otherwise. Also, they got the chance to find out how my wishes fit in their philosophy and approach to the next season.
The Sonics have repeatedly emphasized the importance of signing you back for next season. What’s making such an impasse in negotiations?
VR: Simply said, we still haven’t been assured by their goodwill in getting to terms with my new contract. Verbally, they are very supportive and it seems that they really want to find the way to sign me for an extended period of time. However, they are very aware of all the salary cap constraints, and that is why we still don’t have the deal in place.
Other than certain financial considerations, an equally important factor for you is also whether you are going to be a starter or not. How much do you feel that Seattle will be accommodating regarding this issue?
VR: I think that the situation regarding me being a starter in Seattle changed considerably in the last few months. Simple reason for that is that Nate MacMillan is not a coach here anymore. By promoting Bob Weiss as a new head coach, the Sonics’ management actually improved my team status substantially. I think I really have a very good relationship with coach Weiss. He has a somewhat different approach to the game of basketball than coach MacMillan. Nate thought that it was good for our club that I come in from the bench, but still to play 30 minutes or so per game, as a regular starter. I’m meeting coach Weiss on Thursday, and that’s when I will know where I stand regarding this issue.
There were rumors that you sold your house in West Seattle. Any truth in that?
VR: No, I still live in the same house. I did put it on market and I got a few very competitive offers. However, I don’t think I will be selling the house if I stay in Seattle, which is the most probable scenario as of today.
Since you are skeptical regarding getting to terms with the Sonics before this weekend, how does that affect your desire to leave for Serbia on Saturday?
VR: Nothing is changed in that regard. I am still flying back home on Saturday and driving to a Serbian mountain where my teammates from the National Team are preparing for the upcoming European Championships that will be held in Serbia-Montenegro this September. This is too important for me to sit idly here in Seattle and wait for the resolution of these negotiations. I did all the physical exams Seattle wanted me to take earlier this week. I can FedEx them the signed contract from Serbia any time they want.
You have been very enthusiastic about the National Team chances in the upcoming competition. Even though you are still reigning world champions, the team failed miserably in the continental championships and last year's Olympics. Do you think that Serbia-Montenegro is still favorite to go away with the trophy even though Peja Stojakovic will not play because of the personal reasons?
VR: Peja did what he did, and it is not up to me to comment or criticize his decision. However, basketball is a team sport, and we have won all these World Championship titles in the last six years because we had such a special team chemistry and atmosphere both throughout the preparation period and the championships themselves. That is why I am prepared to be whatever our National Team coach Zelimir Obradovic wants me to be in the National Team. Whether I’m a leader or if I play two minutes per match doesn’t matter to me at all. Compared to some of the coaches I had opportunity to work with here in the NBA, Obradovic is the master of his domain. With still a very good pool of players and an excellent coaching staff, I think that all pieces are in place for us to make a result the whole nation would be proud of.
Nebojsa Petrovacki is the editor of Sportska Centrala, a sports news agency from Serbia-Montenegro
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