On the one hand, we are seeing that the great Maccabi Tel-Aviv is crumbling. I do not know if Hebrew team has financial problems or the players are afraid about a possible war between Israel and Iran, but the truth is that the superstar of team are leaving this historical club. The first departures from Maccabi were the elegant guard Yotam Halperin-perhaps he is the best Hebrew player at this moment-and the brilliant Croatian center Nikola Vujcic-one of the few European players who can achieve a triple-double during a game-.These 2 former Maccabi´s players have signed for the Greek giant Olympiacos Piraeus, that it wants to make a very powerful team to return to try to be in the Final Four again and to be champion of Europe and to achieve this objective, the club is spending a lot money, since besides Halperin and Vujcic´s acquisitions, Olympiacos has signed the European superstar guard Theodoros Papaloukas, who after excellent 6 years with CSKA Moscow where he achieved everything, returns to Piraeus to marvel with his incredible play to the passionate fans of the Peace and Friendship Stadium-as I said in other articles of this blog the 2 best European basketball players are Vujcic and Papaloukas for me, so I can only say that I am delighted that these players continue in the European basketball and they have not gone to the NBA (it is enough that Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez play next season in the NBA-in Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers respectively-) and I feel like to start the new season to see together these 2 giants of the European sport in Olympiakos-besides the Piraeus´team has signed the promising Serbian center Zoran Erceg, who reaches this great opportunity after a very good season in the KK FMP Zeleznik-.
But in addition to Halperin and Vujcic´s departures, Maccabi has had another important problem with the departure of the American power forward Terence Morris, who has been one of the sensations of last season, since he played at a very high level, 13 points and 8 rebounds per game and with good percentages (60% in 2FG -72.7% in the Final Four-and 50% 3FG). Morris will play in the current European champions, CSKA Moscow, that it will be a strong candidate to become the European Champion again, since it has an incredible coach, the Italian Ettore Messina-possibly, he is the best coach in Europe- and it is sure that he will build a competitive team, even the departures of the important players like Papaloukas-his substitute will be the elegant Croatian Zoran Planinic- or complete Australian center David Andersen,who will play for FC Barcelona. Besides Planinic and Morris´signatures, CSKA Moscow has also signed a young center, Sasha Kaun, who was champion of the NCA with the University of Arkansas last April. The truth is that the level of the next Euroleague will be very high, because in addition to CSKA and Olympiacos, we can not forget other strong candidates for the European title as Panathinaikos, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or TAU Ceramics, which also are building very good teams. Panathinaikos after the” fiasco” of last season, since it was eliminated at TOP-16, is completing its incredible squad–players like Jasikevicius, Diamantidis, Spanoulis, Batiste or Tsartsaris-with other excellent players like the Montenegrin Nikola Pekovic-he has been one of the best players of the year in Europe and it was clear that it would leave soon from KK Partizan Belgrade (I suppose Dusan Kecman and Novica Velickovic will be the key players of the Serbian team, coached by a classic, Dusko Vujosevic) -, like the complete Greek Antonis Fotsis and like the excellent shooter Drew Nicholas –he was the Top Scorer of the Euroleague in 2006 -.
Finally, I will speak about the Spanish teams and obviously the main news is the return of Juan Carlos Navarro to FC Barcelona after a proper season in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies where he scored 11 points per game-honestly I do not understand his return, first because I think that he has enough level to play in the NBA and second because he is favouring to FC Barcelona´s president, Joan Laporta (he has an impeachment´ process), who did not make easy the departure of Navarro to NBA last season, but of course Navarro knows better than anyone his circumstances and if he wants to return to Europe, it is ok-.It is clear that FC Barcelona wants to build a competitive team and I think that it will be a strong candidate to be in the Final Four,since the signatures-the "bomb" Navarro, David Andersen-are good and especially because the painful Montenegrin coach Dusko Ivanovic will not in Barcelona, since he will be the TAU Ceramica´s coach- I do not understand this TAU ´s acquisition because Dusko Ivanovic is a loser and the worst coach that I have seen in a long time, since he has a“virtue”: a good player plays horrible with him. Besides this signature is strange because TAU is the current Spanish champion, so it is incomprehensibly that the Croatian Neven Spahija was sacked and substituted by this incompetent and loser-. Finally I want to remark that Real Madrid has signed a very spectacular and effective player, Jeremiah Massey, who comes from Aris Thessaloniki, where he has made sensational 2 seasons (this year, 17 points and 8 rebounds per game). It is a great first signature,but it is clear that we will see more movements in this club-one rumour is the possible arrival of Jorge Garbajosa, who arrived an agreement with the Toronto Raptors in order to finish the contract and now he is free-at any rate, I will dedicate a particular article to this player, because we have seen many strange things during the last year related to this player.