But Dragan Bender never suited up for the Croatians, who were considered one of the gold-medal contenders along with the U.S., Turkey, Greece and Serbia. News broke on the first day of the tournament that Bender was out, due to the fact that he’s signed to an exclusive endorsement contract with adidas, and the Croatian federation was taking a hard-line stance on its players wearing Jordans or Nikes, in order not to jeopardize its own lucrative contract with Jordan Brand. Neither side budged, and so Bender watched Croatia’s first two games from the stands, flanked by his Italian agent, Maurizio Balducci, and then flew home on Monday. NBA scouts—not to mention media and Croatian fans—were dismayed. A different scout told SI, “It just boggles my mind that the Croatian federation, which should be trying to win tournaments, did something that prevented its best prospect from playing.”
The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have acquired guard Luke Ridnour and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the draft rights to forward Tomislav Zubcic. Ridnour, 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, has averaged 9.3 points, 4.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 26.1 minutes in 830 career games (493 starts). He has played with Seattle (2003-08), Milwaukee (2008-10, 2013-14), Minnesota (2010-13), Charlotte (2013-14) and Orlando (2014-15).
The kit brand is pretty much seen as heavily US focused so why did they choose to go with Croatia? The hardest working man in sports journalism was on the case and he found Zeljko Draksic, the Croatian Basketball Federation HKS secretary general in Madrid. Here’s Draksic’s explanation: “When I asked the people from the Jordan brand why us, the answer was that we have unbelievably nice, great, great young players and for the future we’ll maybe be good.” Hein cites the likes of Dario Saric, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marko Arapaovic, and Dragan Bender as players Jordan Brand want to identify with.
Eurohoops reported it since Saturday and today FIBA Europe announced it at Madrid. Croatia (Zagreb), France (Montpellier), Germany (Berlin) and Latvia (Riga) will co-host EuroBasket 2015 getting one group of the first phase each and France will also host the final round at Lille in the modified football stadium of the city with a total 28.000 seats capacity. Tony Parker and company will have the chance to defend in their home country the European champions title which was won last year.
A trio of the biggest future stars for the Philadelphia 76ers – Michael-Carter Williams, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid – flew across the Atlantic Ocean to come to the Croatia-Puerto Rico game at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup to support a fourth future cornerstone of the organisation – Croatia’s Dario Saric. “We came out here to support Dario. He’s a great player. It’s my first time seeing him and I’m very impressed and excited about the future and having him be a part of what we’re building in Philadelphia,” said Noel, the first of two first round picks for the Sixers in the 2013 NBA Draft, but who sat out last season due to a knee surgery.
The round of 16 will start on Saturday. Madrid Side: Spain-Senegal / Croatia-France / Greece-Serbia / Brazil-Argentina
The news about Dario Saric playing after loosing six teeth after being hit during the game of Croatia against Argentina were somehow lost in translation. As the Croatian media reported earlier, Saric lost six artificial dental implants, because he had already lost his natural teeth and he is expected to be ready to play in the rest of the tournament, after visiting a local dentist in Seville.
Emiliano Carchia: Dario Saric lost his six teeth after being elbowed by Andres Nocioni, according to the report of Vecernji
In June of this year, Cibona sold Saric to the wealthy Turkish club Anadou Efes for the price of €900,000, which presumably squared Cibona’s account with Klemm. And with Saric already having appeared to make peace with his father, hiring a new agent, entering the 2014 NBA Draft, being drafted in the lottery, and laying out his plan to come to the NBA after two seasons with Efes, the move away from Cibona would appear to signal that all of the strange circumstances around him over the last two years are now completely in the past. It’s something of a happy ending, and hopefully a new beginning that could start as soon as this weekend, when Saric leads Croatia into the FIBA World Cup. If the entire two-year history outlined above seems murky, that’s because it is. The story has been well-covered in Croatia by talented journalists–some of whom specialize in investigating organized crime–so the fact that there are still so many questions is reason for concern.
However, on April 1, 2014, it was reported that the Croatian state attorney was investigating the loan from Klemm to Cibona. Specifically, the investigation seemed to focus on a strange series of events in 2013 in which Cibona threw out the management of a longtime nightclub in Zagreb, claiming they didn’t pay rent. Cibona put a new company in the space and posted Klemm Security out front during the “transition.” It was suspected that the new company received discounted rent to somehow help repay Klemm for the Saric loan. When Saric then withdrew his name from the 2013 NBA Draft, it renewed speculation on who was actually behind his decision making.
Emphasizing one’s own agency to make decisions is a curious thing to say at a celebratory PR event, especially for a budding superstar. And while it’s unclear to what or whom exactly Saric was referring, almost every article briefly notes that his €550,000 transfer fee was paid not by the club, but by a third party, Josip Klemm of Klemm Security, who is a visible presence with Saric and the club president at the podium.
30 Aug 14
Madrid will announce EuroBasket 2015 hosts on September 8. Croatia, France, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Israel and Turkey are on the list of possible host countries. The Board of FIBA Europe decided to relocate 2015 EuroBasket from Ukraine. The decision has been officially announced earlier. The situation in Ukraine has not changed drastically in the last months so the decision seemed inevitable.
KK Cedevita: Jusuf Nurkić @nurkic23 is from today @denvernuggets player. @KKCedevita wish him luck and good year in @NBA! #kkcdv
Center Justin Hamilton, who is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds over the Heat’s first two summer games, refuted reports that he is considering a two-year guaranteed deal to play in Croatia, where his ancestry does not have him counting against the limit on import players.
The Heat’s summer roster could soon be shaken up, with rookie center Justin Hamilton, the lone player on the summer roster who spent part of 2013-14 with the Heat, mulling a guaranteed two-year contract from a team in Zagreb, according to a source familiar with the situation. Hamilton’s Croatian ancestry would allow him to play there without counting against the limit on imported players.
David ‘Dubi’ Pick: Nuggets draft pickup Jusuf Nurkic unlikely to join Denver next season, I’m told. Problem is Croatian club buyout, exceeds €1M.
DJ Strawberry is suing Cibona Zagreb to FIBA BAT to due lack of payments, according to a source with the knowledge of the situation. The Croatian team still owes Strawberry money (rumors say more than 100.000 USD). The American guard has played with Cibona from September 2012 till December 2012 when he left for France.
David ‘Dubi’ Pick: Former Grizzlies draftee Josh Selby has been waived by Croatian Cedevita due to injury. He averaged 6.5 points over three games.
Josh Selby will continue his career in Croatia with Cedevita Zagreb. The American player ex NBA signed a deal for the season with an option for the team to terminate the contract after one month.