Montenegro Rumors

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Do you think Nikola Mirotic, Nikola Pekovic and yourself will ever play together for Montenegro? NV: I hope so, I don’t know what the future holds. I can’t answer that question for everybody… Nikola Pekovic has played for our team before, so I’m sure he wants to play although he had some issues with injuries. With Mirotic, the thing that happens is he played for Spain in the junior teams… So we will see. But I hope we can put things together and be a very good team.
The Orlando Magic joins Magic center Nikola Vucevic in his efforts to raise funds for flood victims in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, both countries neighbor Vucevic’s hometown of Montenegro, by donating $5,000 to the Red Cross. Vucevic will also make a monetary donation to the Red Cross to assist in the Balkan Floods’ relief efforts. “It is during times like these we must all band together to help others,” said Magic center Nikola Vucevic. “I thank the Magic for their support in these efforts.”
“For a crash like that, I was lucky,” he said. “It’s very scary. You don’t know if you’re going to live or die. “It makes you look at life differently, not take things for granted. It makes you think about a lot of things. You try to appreciate life more.” Vucevic and his father were returning from a youth basketball camp in the mountain resort town of Kolasin in Montenegro, heading to their home in the coastal city of Bar, as the train suddenly sped uncontrollably down the tracks. Court records stated later that the brakes had failed.
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This time of year always reminds Magic center Nik Vucevic “just how lucky I am” – how lucky he is to be alive. “Every time I see a train,” he said, “I think about it.” On this day eight years ago, Jan. 23, 2006, Vucevic was among hundreds of terrified passengers who were on a runaway train that derailed in Montenegro, killing 47 people and injuring nearly 200. Vucevic, then 15, escaped with bruises and cuts as did his father, Borislav.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic, the lynchpin of Montenegro’s national team, has pledged to return to the fold and silence critics who accused him of skipping EuroBasket 2013. “I had private commitments that I had to take care of. It was my top priority, in summer I completed something I’ve fought and worked for during my whole life in basketball,” Pekovic told Voice of America in an interview, referring to the new contract he signed with the Timberwolves in August. “But from now on nothing can prevent me from rejoining the national team in future campaigns,” Pekovic said.
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Pekovic is currently a restricted free agent, but his management and the Wolves haven’t been able to come to terms on what will reportedly be a four-year extension worth between $12 and $15 million per year. Because of the ongoing negotiations, Pekovic’s representatives have apparently recommended he doesn’t participate in the upcoming FIBA tournament in order for him to stay injury-free, according to a report on the official website of the Basketball Federation of Montenegro.
Montenegro have had to be patient but at last, NBA center Nikola Vucevic has joined the team in training ahead of the EuroBasket. The Orlando Magic big man wasn’t able to play in Hungary over the weekend in a couple of friendlies that his national team won against the hosts and Austria. He is expecting to fit in quickly. “I’m glad I’m joining the rest of the team,” he said. “They’ve been working hard since the beginning of July and in Zlatibor doing their strenuous preparations, so it is my pleasure that I am joining the preparations and am ready to start working with the rest of the team. “I worked individually in Bar (Montenegro) so believe that there will be no problem getting used to the system of work in Zlatibor and continue preparations for the European Championship, which we all await with great impatience.”
Take the Montenegro side that impressed in last summer’s Qualification Round with a 10-0 record, add two of the most promising NBA centers, and you get a frontcourt that could wreak havoc at EuroBasket 2013. This dream scenario is very close to turning into reality for the small Balkan country, as former Partizan, Panathinaikos and Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic are included in the 21-strong preliminary squad for September’s EuroBasket that head coach Luka Pavicevic announced on Monday.
Danilo Mitrovic, Montenegro National Team director, on Bulls draftee Nikola Mirotic: “In my opinion, Mirotic is a bit angry at the Spanish Basketball Federation because he was not on the National Team for the Olympics. His place was given Serge Ibaka and this is why he was probably upset. I tried to contact him, but I could not get ahold of his phone number. I contacted FIBA, where I was told that the Mirotic must submit a request in writing and that way get a permission to play for Montenegro National Team. When he was registered by the Spanish Basketball Federation, there were many irregularities and the Spanish Federation had to pay a fine because of that.”