June 11, 2010
Two players who left their clubs midway through last season, only to return, have now left them again. Australian international Brad Newley left Besiktas towards the end of last year as the team had fallen more than the allowable amount behind on his payment schedule - it is customary for teams to be allowed to fall a certain amount behind on payments before a player is allowed to break the contract with all obligations, both future and outstanding, still owed to them. Newley did this once the team had fallen several thousand dollars behind on his pay, and agreed to sign with AJ Milano for the remainder of the Serie A season. However, due to paperwork errors, FIBA blocked the transfer and Newley had to return to Besiktas for the remainder of the season. With it now over for good, Newley has left the team again and signed in Lithuania for Lietuvos Rytas (who, incidentally, elected to keep Milko Bjelica for next year as well). Additionally, the wolf man Vuk Radivojevic has left the destitute Crvena Zvezda for good this team. He was said to have left the team towards the end of last season, but returned to play the remainder of the season, presumably doing so unpaid. He really has gone this time, though, signing with Turkish team Trabzonspor for next season.
April 14, 2010
- Vuk Radivojevic
Vuk Radivojevic is a personal favourite. He looks like a cross between Mike Bibby and a tennis racket, but that's not the only reason. Vuk - whose first name means "Wolf", which is pretty awesome - is a tall slow point guard and a pick and roll whore, in the classic former Yugoslavian mold of tall unathletic P&R whore point guards. And I love them. The NBA doesn't, which is why awesome players like Milos Teodosic go undrafted every now and then, but that's OK, because there's enough quality club basketball in the world for them all. Radivojevic started the year with Crvena Zvezda, my favourite European team, and averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the Eurocup. It was reported that he left the team last month; however, he came back and played in their first Serbian league game at the weekend, playing 36 minutes and scoring 17 points. Vuk's name continues to be linked to teams across the continent, including Aris of Greece and Besiktas of Turkey, but he hasn't left yet.
He's a tall point guard, which I like. He looks like Mike Bibby, which surely everyone likes. His name means "Wolf", which is bankable likability. And he's played most of his professional life for one of my favourite teams. Yes, Wolfie is definitely a personal favourite.
Things haven't gone so well for Crvena Zvezda, though. They ran out of money early, and while they tried to blag it throughout the season, their elimination from the Eurocup spelled the end. Jazz draft pick and team captain Tadija Dragicevic was the first to go, and the floodgates were opened. Mike Taylor has since left, as did Radivojevic, who is back to captain the team but only briefly. Bulgarian international and former Western Kentucky wing man Filip Videnov left soon afterwards, and starting centre Vladimir Stimac is finalising a move to Roma. Apart from the 26 year old Radivojevic, Red Star retain only two players older than 23; 26 year old backup big man Oliver Stevic and 24 year old forward Strahinja Dragicevic (Tadija's brother). All their senior players have left the team, and since three of their youngsters are prospects in the upcoming draft (Nemanja Bjelica, Marko Keselj and Elmedir Kikanovic), they might not be staying for much longer.
Nevertheless, despite the exodus, Red Star have made three recent signings, buying three 20 year olds from small time Serbian club Mega Vizura. It's the way to build; they couldn't afford to retain their senior players, so they'll rebuild with cheap young domestic talent and try to buld a core while resolving their finances. It's the right strategy. And that just makes me like them more.