Q: What are your reflections about your time with the Hawks and your two years in the NBA? Pero Antic: Expect the unexpected! I would not talk about the results that we made, but more important than that are the people around and within the team. Everything starts with COACH BUD. He taught me so much about life, family, basketball and so many other things. I would miss him a lot. I’m so happy that I met a person like him in my life, that has accomplish so much in life and still he is down to earth. My teammates and the other coaching stuff that made it all easier for me – from my El Capitano Al Horford to the old man my mentor Elton Brand and Dominique Wilkins. People are great. The city is beautiful and the whole HAWKS organization was my family. We all built something great. Maybe the best chemistry in the league I wish them a lot of health and more happiness for the HAWKS and the city of ATLANTA. TRU TO ATLANTA.
Q: I’m curious about Pero Antic because when I asked him before the end of the season if he wanted to come back, he said ‘From your lips to God’s ears.’ And then, pretty quickly after the season, he chose to return to Europe. What happened there and I wonder if the New York incident had anything to do with his decision? Mike Budenholzer: No, I think he genuinely wanted to be back and we genuinely wanted him back. The European market moves at a different time and a different pace. There was an opportunity, really two-fold, to be closer to home and family. There was some discussions of his wife and kids coming here if he came back. For his family, to be closer to Macedonia and play in Turkey. And then financially, I think was something he thought was a very good situation and something he could not pass up. It was a happy-sad phone call. We were telling each other how great it’s been. I genuinely love him. He is a special person. How things all worked out was a wild 72 hours. I don’t think New York had anything to do with it. It was just family and money at the end of the day. Both of them lined up and he made a tough decision.
Turkish Basketball Federation will apply to host one of the three Olympiac Qualifying Tournaments that will be played in July 2016. Turkey did not get a spot for the OQT and its only chance to play is to organize one of the tournaments that will qualify the last three teams at Rio. FIBA is expected to announce the hosts late in November.
With European bigs still in favor among NBA front offices, that could earn Vesely a recall across the Atlantic when he is a free agent again next summer. However, once bitten, twice shy — it is an option he is hesitant to commit to. “I’m not even thinking about the NBA now,” he says. “This season I will be in Turkey. That’s as far as I look.”
Does Brown think Philly will see him soon? “I do,” Brown said. “I think the city is going to see something extraordinarily competitive, very, very skilled and I think his personality, his style of play fits perfectly in this city.”
Next, Saric. The Croatian signed a three-year deal with his Turkish team, Anadolu Efes, days before the 2014 draft. So as the Sixers await his arrival, how often does Brown keep tabs on the 21-year-old overseas? “Every day, all day,” Brown said. “WhatsApp. Play text tag with my players, he’s a WhatsApp guy. Saw him today, they had a tough loss to the Czech team, but all day, every day pay attention to Dario.”