Partizan GM: “Zeljko Obradovic had better offers”

2021-10-21T11:09:56+00:00 2021-10-21T11:14:03+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

21/Oct/21 11:09

Former player Zoran Savic, as the Partizan NIS team manager discusses Zeljko Obradovic deciding to return to the Serbian club

By Johnny Askounis/

Zeljko Obradovic getting back to Partizan NIS, nearly three decades after his departure in 1993, was certainly one of the key topics of the 2021 offseason.

Obradovic, 61, carries a legendary status to the team based in Belgrade. The most successful head coach in European basketball is on a mission with the first goal to guide his favorite team to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Team manager Zoran Savic explained the situation by talking to Radio Marca’s “Nos Gusta el Basket”.

“For sure, Zeljko had better offers, but also an incredible love for Partizan,” the retired player noted, “I don’t know anyone who cares as much for the team. He has given up a lot of money. He was more sure than us that he was taking over. With Zeljko on board, pressure follows, and that is what he wants.”

So far, Partizan is 1-0 in the 7DAYS EuroCup and 4-0 in the ABA League. The team has been labeled as a favorite for both competitions considering Obradovic at the helm and players brought in ahead of the 2021-22 season.

“I don’t think we are the favorites,” countered Savic, “We have a good team, but other teams are strong as well. Valencia and Virtus both have improved during the offseason. Their only option to secure a spot in the EuroLeague is the EuroCup. We also have the option to win the ABA League.”

The revamped format of EuroCup split the 20 participating sides into two groups. The top eight will advance to the second round with higher-seeded teams gaining the home-court advantage for the latter stages of the competition.

“This is the strongest-ever EuroCup field,” pointed out the Partizan team manager, “The adjusted format is a positive. Every game is going to be important because securing the home-court advantage will be key. Our effort was to build the best possible team, a young team, within our financial limitations. We want to add another center to boost our squad.”

“It is very complicated to compete against bigger budgets,” he added, “I prefer to have a team with six or seven NBA prospects aiming to earn a buyout down the road. Signing more experienced players to rebuild the squad would be much more simple, but this is not the appropriate path for Serbian basketball.”