HoopsHype Russia rumors

January 31, 2014 Updates
January 30, 2014 Updates

Jose Ignacio Huguet: China and Russia, out of Spain Basketball World Cup 2014. Wild cards will go for Brazil, Turkey, Greece and... Finland or Venezuela. Twitter @josehuguet

A new kind of “cold war” has emerged, this time between American player Luke Babbitt and his Russian team Nizhny Novgorod. Babbitt was the marquee summer addition to the team which competes in Eurocup and VTB league, however he wants to leave in order to return to the NBA as he has a contract offer by New Orleans Pelicans. EuroHoops.net

In a brief interview of Sergei Panov, former Russian national team player and general manager of Nizhny, which was reproduced in the official site of the team, it’s clear that Nizhny at this point will not let Babbitt return to the NBA. As Panov said: “They made us an offer, which didn’t satisfied us. Now we will negotiate through agents, attorneys and lawyers. I learned some new English words after this incident like “spit in the face” and “shit on your soul”". At this point, if Nizhny and the Russian basketball federation refuse to send the letter of clearance of Babbitt to the States, he will not be able to sign anywhere else until the end of the season according to the FIBA-NBA agreement. EuroHoops.net

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

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