HoopsHype Russia rumors

January 29, 2014 Updates

To summarize, Babbitt left Russia, he apparently has generated NBA interest, BC Nizhny Novgorod is upset that he left at the spur of the moment, and they plan to fight his ability to sign with another team. Babbitt agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Russian team back in August after the Blazers decided not to extend a fourth-year rookie option to the 2010 first-round pick. Babbitt, 24, holds NBA career averages of 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds over three seasons. Babbitt was averaging 13.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for BC Nizhny Novgorod in VTB League play, according to EuroBasket.com. Blazers Edge

January 16, 2014 Updates

Free agent forward Derrick Byars has reached agreement on a deal with Krasny Oktyabr of the European League, a source told RealGM. Byars will sign with the Russian club for the remainder of the season. Byars, 30, appeared in training camp with the Memphis Grizzlies this season, and he’s also signed free agent deals with the Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs in a professional career out of four collegiate years at Vanderbilt and Virginia. RealGM

In recent months, however, it appears the dynamics have begun to shift, with Sergei Kushchenko — a longtime Prokhorov associate and his top sports advisor — gradually becoming a bigger presence around the franchise. Meanwhile, Dmitry Razumov — the CEO of ONEXIM Group, Prokhorov’s investment vehicle — has receded into the background. Up until now, Prokhorov’s point man with regards to the Nets had been Razumov. Whenever the Nets had a big decision to make, Razumov always was involved. He was often cited by the front office for his role in various moves, including helping convince Deron Williams to re-sign with the team in July 2012. New York Post

Kushchenko’s appearances around the team have come even as he’s in the midst of preparing for next month’s Olympics in Sochi, Russia. When asked if his role within the Nets organization would grow after the Olympics, his response was short. “Let’s wait for Sochi first,” he said. His résumé within the game is an impressive one. Kushchenko spent seven years with Ural-Great, building the club from an expansion franchise in the Russian Super League to one that claimed the league championship in 2001 and 2002 — becoming the only team besides CSKA Moscow to win the Russian Super League title in the last 22 years. New York Post

January 14, 2014 Updates

Kirilenko -- who confirmed he will not play for Russia in September’s FIBA World Cup in Spain -- will catch up this week with a group of friends who have flown in from his native land to see him in action. ESPN.com

December 27, 2013 Updates

Two weeks ago, using the pretext of a Nets board meeting, Sergei Kushchenko came to New York. He was there to ask some questions and report back. The 52-year old is Prokhorov's chief sports adviser. Kushchenko knows about professional basketball. He served as GM of CSKA Moscow for seven years, winning two Euroleague titles and getting to the Finals two other times. He made the Final Four every year he ran the club. In 2006, he was Euroleague Executive of the Year and in 2008, TIME Magazine named him one of the world's top sports executives. In 2011, Prokhorov named him to the Nets board of directors. His main job now is Executive Director of the Russian Biathlon Union, which Prokhorov heads. But that job will have fewer responsibilities after the Sochi Olympics which end February 23. Don't be surprised to see him with a larger role. NetsDaily

October 19, 2013 Updates
October 15, 2013 Updates
October 6, 2013 Updates

Weems, 27, returns to the USA as a key member of Russia's CSKA Moscow and will play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday and San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in exhibition games with his mind set on returning to the NBA, potentially as soon as next season. "These two games won't dictate whether I make my comeback to the NBA or whether I stay in Europe," Weems said. "This season, that's what will determine my future. But my resume so far has let coaches and GMs know that I'm ready to play in the NBA again." USA Today Sports

Andrei Kirilenko: “I gave 14 years to the [Russian] team, and now I feel that it’s time to step away. I have far too little time for my family. This year, when I wasn’t playing for the team anymore, I really got to know my kids well: I found out what they like, what they don’t like, what sports they most want to do. This might sound a little funny, but I don’t want to miss seeing my kids grow up because I’m playing basketball. I think I’ve done pretty well when it comes to the teams and my personal club career. I might have two, three or four more years left to play. After that, I physically won’t be able to keep playing at as high a level. As a professional, I want to play at the highest level. Of course, on the one hand this is a very hard decision, but, on the other hand, it’s very easy. But it feels good.” Russia Beyond The Headlines

October 4, 2013 Updates

Sergei Belov, a Russian basketball star who led the Soviet national team in its controversial gold medal victory over the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, died on Thursday in Perm, Russia. He was 69. His death was announced by CKSA Moscow, the professional team he had coached. No cause was given. Belov, a guard who stood nearly 6 feet 3 inches and was quick off the dribble, had one of the smoother jump shots seen outside of the United States in his day. Sometimes called the Jerry West of Russia, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, the first international player to be inducted. New York Times

Belov expressed no doubt about the 51-50 victory. “They lacked courage,” he said of the Americans in a 2002 HBO documentary, “:03 From Gold.” He said the American players “couldn’t admit they were silver medalists.” “I guess basketball in American only means gold,” he said. New York Times

The Brooklyn Nets wish to express our condolences on the passing of legendary Russian basketball player Sergey Belov. The first international player ever to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Belov’s contributions to the game was unparalleled. As a player, he led the Russian National team to four European and two World Championships. He won a gold medal and three bronzes for his national team at the Olympics. He continued his winning ways as coach of two Russian teams and head coach of the Russian men’s national team, winning silver medals at two World Championships. He is considered by many to be the best international player to ever grace the game, and he will be missed. NBA.com

October 3, 2013 Updates

Former Soviet basketball great and Olympic gold medalist Sergei Belov has died at 69. His death was announced by CSKA Moscow, the team he played with for 13 seasons. The club said Belov died Thursday in the Ural Mountains city of Perm. It didn't give a cause. Belov helped the Soviets to the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, scoring 20 points in the famous 51-50 win over the United States in the final. The shooting guard also won three Olympic bronze medals and two FIBA world championship titles. USA Today Sports

October 1, 2013 Updates

Kirilenko has major value off the court as well—make that already has. He recently spent four days in Russia, where he ran into many new Nets fans because of his association with the team. He's also experienced the same hoopla so far in Brooklyn with the many Russians living there. As Kirilenko talked about why playing for the Nets was "a great opportunity," he also got excited about the prospects of generating basketball interest in rich Russian areas. "I think the Brooklyn Nets really became a home-based Russian team in Moscow, in Russia," he said. "All my friends, all the people around are asking a lot of questions about it. They said, 'We changed our priorities. We're going to cheer for Brooklyn right now.' It's a very good buzz. Bleacher Report

September 27, 2013 Updates

The NBA is on an international push and why not? Its players want to push their brand internationally, particularly in Asia, and each NBA team has a 1/30th share of NBA INternational. Yormark is not shy about the ultimate plan for the Nets, as the Nets CEO tells Bloomberg News. "We want to be the home NBA team in Beijing. We want to be the home NBA team in Moscow. So we have global aspirations and with the star power we have now, and especially when you speak to Russia with Andrei Kirilenko, we have the direct connect to those consumers and now we have to leverage it." NetsDaily

September 21, 2013 Updates

Given his experience last season, Mozgov is taking nothing for granted. “I have to be prepared,” he said. “We changed coaches, so it’s a different situation. We’ll see in practice.” Unlike last September, Mozgov will open training camp on a full tank. After helping Russia win the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, Mozgov did not compete for the national team at Eurobasket 2013. “It was a hard decision to not go to the national team,” he said. “I feel like I needed to skip it because I need a good season. It’s an important season for me. I don’t want to be so tired (from the Olympics) like last season. I was not ready. It was hard (not playing this summer), but it’s what I need. It’s good for my body, good for my mind.” NBA.com

September 20, 2013 Updates

Brett Yormark told ITAR-TASS, the Russian news agency, that the Nets' acquisition of Andrei Kirilenko will help him market the team both in Russia and the Russian-speaking neighborhoods of New York. Russia, along with China, are the Nets top marketing targets overseas, he added. Yormark, in Moscow with Kirilenko and Irina Pavlova, said that the Nets are working with Adidas to get Kirilenko jerseys on the shelves in Russia as soon as possible and pointed to plans to use AK-47 in selling the team in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, home of 100,000 Russian speakers. "We have a desire to [market] a large number of products in Russian and geared towards Andrei Kirilenko. I think that soon the Russian fans will able to fulfill this dream," said the Nets CEO when asked about Kirilenko jerseys. NetsDaily

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