“This one still feels amazing. Not much changed since five minutes ago. Still, I am speechless,” Vasilije Micic said after receiving the trophy from Euroleague Legend Vassilis Spanoulis, “These achievements will stay with me for all my life, it will stay marked in my heart as long as I play basketball and afterward. This would be impossible without my teammates. Four amazing years together, two titles. Team results are more important.”
Donatas Urbonas: Vasilije Micic on the possibility to go to the NBA next season: “I'm in a situation where I have two more years of the contract no matter what happens. But of course, I like to look at all kinds of challenges. If this option comes out, I would be ready to risk.”
Vasilije Micic signed a three-year extension last summer and while his deal with Anadolu Efes includes NBA outs, the Serbian guard will only agree to move to the States if he gets the playing time there. Otherwise, he’s happy where he is. “Honestly, I have a desire to go to the NBA. But in a way, and I told that to the people from Oklahoma, to actually play there. I don’t see myself going there to tell my neighborhood friends that I was in the NBA and bring them back an OKC jersey. That doesn’t inspire me. I also came to Efes when they were at the bottom, and I had offers of some, perhaps, better-standing names,” Micic said on Mozzart’s “Na Ivici Terena” (On the Court Edge).
“I haven’t really heard the NBA league ‘cry’ for me. Jokes aside. I don’t follow (what is said and written). I don’t even follow what is happening in the Euroleague. That is a mitigating circumstance for me. That puts a lot of pressure on young players and players my age, that burden with results, statistics and who says what. I went through that early in my career and I know how much it affected me. As for the NBA, I really don’t know what’s going on. I have some pro forma contact with people from Oklahoma. They are interested in how I am, how my life is going, but they also mostly know everything. They can’t miss anything. My job is to play…”
While on the NBA matter, the 55-year-old Efes coach also addressed the rumor mill surrounding EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic as well as the upcoming departure of Sertac Sanli to Barcelona. “There are a lot of candidates for the NBA, especially Vasilije Micic, but we are doing everything we can to keep them. While we were worried about Micic, Sertac Sanli’s transfer to Barcelona came out. He’s talking very seriously right now. Although, during our last visit, President Ergodan also warned him. He said, ‘what would you do there? Why would you leave the champions for the runner-ups?”. I’m saying the same thing.”
June 26, 2022 | 6:52 am EDT Update
Not much of Murdock’s take was optimistic if you’re a Nets fan. Indeed, he referred to the franchise’s current situation as “destruction” in the podcast and suggested perhaps more firmly than other pundits that Durant could indeed leave. “The vision is on the verge of crumbling,” he wrote. “It didn’t have to be this way,” he said, summing up. “This team … and it’s ironic. Kevin came to reconcile relationships, build relationships with his BFF’s and it’s not working out. It’s doing the exact opposite. And you juxtapose that with Golden State winning…” “Now, you have reports that Kyrie is looking elsewhere. I made some calls. Kevin Durant has not talked to the team in weeks. I don’t think Kevin is confident in the front office right now. I don’t know if he’s at the stage of leaving but there’s a big uneasiness from not only from the Kyrie side, but the KD side as well.”
And Murdock reiterated reports that Durant, who had in the past recruited free agents, is not doing that now. “At least right now, he’s one of those guys who doesn’t want to recruit, isn’t in the position to recruit or doesn’t feel like he is a position to recruit whether you like that or not.
At the center of it, Murdock pointed out multiple times is the Nets relationship with Irving. “His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that ‘hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.’”
Still, Durant believes the Nets didn’t support Irving particularly when they decided not to play him at all in October, after he refused to get vaccinated like all but a handful of NBA players, then brought him back in October. “That’s just how he feels. ‘Hey man, I brought this guy in, him and Kyrie, and the front office didn’t do enough to support him at a time when we needed to support him.”
Moreover, Murdock pointed to the Nets decision to dump Adam Harrington, their long-time assistant coach and director of development, as a big negative for KD. Durant and Harrington go back to KD’s time in Oklahoma City when Harrington was his shooting coach. “And here’s another thing, KOC, the Nets got rid of Adam Harrington. who’s very close to Kevin. He’s one of Kevin’s guys. And that had a big ripple effect on how Kevin feels about this right now. He’s still in this figure-it-out mode but there is some fire to that smoke that he’s kind of reevaluating where he stands with this.”
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving won a ring together before, and it may not have been their last … ’cause Matt Barnes tells TMZ Sports the Lakers could be smelling champagne if Kyrie Irving joins L.A. Matt — who played for the Purple and Gold for two seasons — spoke about the recent Irving rumors out at LAX this week … and he told us if Uncle Drew ends up with the Lakers, it could result in the franchise’s 18th championship.
The Hawks could still pursue Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency. Sources tell The Athletic that the Hawks’ interest in the 23-year-old would be contingent on landing him for less than a max contract. That may not be an option, as the Pistons, who have the cap space for a max contract, are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Ayton in free agency.