HoopsHype Euroleague rumors

August 9, 2011 Updates

"When FIBA decided to say that the transfer [of NBA players] will be valid only until the lockout will be over, it was strange," Bertomeu said. "Never in the FIBA history has there been any condition like this. This is very strange." Bertomeu raised the possibility that FIBA negotiated the terms of its ruling with the NBA. FIBA did not announce its ruling until July 29, almost a full month after the NBA players had been locked out by the owners amid their stalled negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. "We were asking FIBA for their position since the month of May, pending the official announcement of a definitive lockout," Bertomeu said. "The day after the NBA lockout announcement, FIBA should have stated their position. And it took a month. Obviously, since May until now, [the delay] could have been because they were talking with the NBA." SI.com

An NBA official told SI.com that it had no such discussions with FIBA, which is notoriously deliberate in its decision-making. The official pointed out that commissioner David Stern had declared his opinion during the NBA season -- months before FIBA's declaration -- that NBA players would be free to pursue job opportunities around the world if they were locked out. The decision to hold NBA players accountable to existing contracts after the lockout makes sense for FIBA, which clearly wishes to avoid becoming a third party to potential lawsuits between NBA teams and players over the validity of contracts. "This was purely FIBA-generated," the NBA official said. "FIBA doesn't want to be drawn into litigation." SI.com

"In Europe, it is true that sport is a form of entertainment," Bertomeu said. "However, the sporting result is more important than the entertainment value, so at the end of the day a team has to win. ... The team needs to win the championship. That's the competition level the European teams have. "There is the perception that the European clubs are little bit like the NBDL -- a developmental league. But the games that you see in Europe are of high quality. The idea that the NBA championship is titled as the 'world championship' [creates] the idea that the NBA or any American league is the top sporting competition, and anything other than that is compared to the NCAA or NBDL." This is why recent reports suggest that NBA stars are now focusing on the Chinese league as a potential destination during the lockout. SI.com

There is also the question of whether European clubs can afford to pay big salaries to NBA players amid the worldwide recession and the financial crisis in Greece that threatens to spread to other countries in Europe. Bertomeu warned that the biggest clubs in Europe have the wherewithal to recruit any player. "When you talk about teams such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Fenerbahce Ulker [of Istanbul],'' he said, "you're talking about clubs whose budgets double the Lakers' budget." While it's true that FC Barcelona, Madrid and other big clubs draw from enormous budgets, most of that money is created by -- and allocated to -- its soccer club. SI.com

May 7, 2011 Updates
May 3, 2011 Updates

El-Amin is only 31 years old, but he's lived long years as a journeyman. He talks about his short NBA career as if it took place a lifetime ago. He's played in so many different European countries that it's difficult for even him to remember them all. "You know, in Europe, the game of basketball is kind of different," he says. "It's all about the team game in Europe. If you score 40 points and you lose, no one really cares about that it seems like, because you lost the game." He still talks like he's ready to walk out on the court tomorrow, but his leg won't let him. When asked about it, El-Amin downplays the injury. He hasn't bothered to watch the replay yet, so he can't really explain how it happened. "It was just a routine play," he says. "Next thing I knew, I was on the ground." citypages.com

El-Amin's dedication has not wavered in the 15 years since high school. After failing out of the NBA in his early 20s, El-Amin resigned himself to obscurity playing for a handful of listless teams around Europe. He has spent the past 10 years stubbornly trying to fight his way back the NBA. Earlier this year, he finally caught a break. El-Amin made it into the Euroleague tournament playing for a Lithuanian team, BC Lietuvos Rytas, at the highest level of basketball in the world outside of the NBA. "This is how he was really reborn after a few off-years," says David Landry of ESPN-affiliated Ball in Europe. "I mean, the Lithuanian media was loving this guy." But the freak injury sent him home prematurely. And while El-Amin is optimistic that he'll play next season, this could very well be the one blow that keeps him down for the count. "The more significant the injury, the harder it is," says Dr. Dan Kraft, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. "The older the athlete, the more uncertain the healing becomes." citypages.com

The Euroleague was El-Amin's chance to play in the global spotlight for the first time since his stint with the Bulls. Though the Euroleague tournament pales in popularity compared to the NBA, it's the second-most prestigious tournament worldwide, broadcast in 191 countries. This was an enormous step up from the mostly obscure leagues El-Amin had played in Europe previously. "I would say, in terms of team, this is the culmination of his career," says Landry. "To play in Euroleague, that's the big stage. That's the highest level of competition, and it's really a level of competition where El-Amin can stand out." citypages.com

But as laid-back as El-Amin appears, he admits the injury has forced him to think seriously about his future. Though he's confident he'll be back in Lithuania at the beginning of next season, he's about to turn 32, and his dream of returning to the NBA has passed its expiration date. "The injury really made me think about life after basketball." In part, this means finishing the college degree he left incomplete more than 10 years ago. El-Amin says he plans to enroll at Augsburg College this summer while going through rehabilitation. He's undecided whether he'll pick up where he left off with his television production major. citypages.com

April 30, 2011 Updates

Mike Cristaldi, director of public relations of the Wolves, confirmed to ARA that David Khan, general manager in Minneapolis, and Tony Ronzone, assistant general manager, will travel to Barcelona next week. In addition to watch the Final Four to be held at Palau Sant Jordi, they want to close the deal so Ricky Rubio (Regal Barça) can play for coach Kurt Rambis next season. Ara

August 20, 2010 Updates

Paul Pierce told CSN New England that he wants to finish his playing career in Europe once his NBA days are done. Pierce signed a deal this summer to play three more years as a Celtic, with an option for a fourth. That means he would be age 36 or 37 when he went to play in Greece or Italy. "As far as retiring from the NBA, I think I will be done after this contract because eventually I want to go overseas and play and live for a couple of years. That's why this is a big contract for me, knowing I'm going to retire a Boston Celtic. I want to go to either Italy or Greece for a year. I think I want to be able to bring my family over to just kind of share a different experience overseas for a couple of years, before I settle into retirement." CSNPhilly.com

July 15, 2010 Updates
June 30, 2010 Updates

During the 2009-10 Euroleague season, one of the most watched statistics was totally off-court; with financial stress pervasive throughout The Continent, most European basketball franchises prepared for the worst and tightened belts in expectation of lower turnouts. And once all was said and done, the results were … mixed. With last season’s biggest draw Alba Berlin not in the competition, the overall 2009-10 Euroleague attendance figures for regular-season/Top 16 play decreased 3.5% overall year-on-year, bringing total attendance just under the 1 million threshold achieved in 2008-09. (For comparison’s sake, NBA regular-season attendance figures for 2009-10 were down just about 2% against 2008-09.) Ball In Europe Ball In Europe

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