By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
One of, if not the most successful Slovenian coach of all time with 25 trophies, both on the national and international level, in Zmago Sagadin talked to Nova.rs and he wasn’t satisfied with the current situation in European basketball.
He noted that FIBA didn’t recognize on time basketball’s real potential and allowed it to fall behind football in that last few decades, especially in the economy. Additionally, he also stated that local players shouldn’t be given so easily to the NBA and that there should be an agreement on a minimum buyout.
“Euroleague and FIBA have to sit down urgently and say ‘no one can go to the NBA until the teams there have paid (at least) a 5 million dollars buyout’, make them think about it in America. What has been done here for basketball must be respected. I’m afraid that, if it doesn’t, the NBA will make its division here at some point.”
As a Slovenian, there’s no doubt that he was happy for his country’s national team which won the 2017 EuroBasket but that also means that he doesn’t take lightly the fact that FIBA’s new competition system wasn’t good to Slovenia’s squad which, as a lot of others, couldn’t count on NBA and EuroLeague players.
“Congratulations! Huge success. It should continue, but how? Well, it can’t, because the NBA and Euroleague players couldn’t play in the World Cup qualifiers. That’s ridiculous. The FIBA competition is irregular. Anybody can say whatever they want, but when you limit someone in that way, then it is irregular.”
Sagadin can analyze at the whole situation as someone who was coaching since 1974 and all the way to 2014 while he still mentors various coaches and helps out where needed. He was also one of the ABA League founders and it, as well, hasn’t been in a good state.
“I do not know what happened, where and how it got stuck. The current League is close to falling apart. It’s a tragedy that we fell down to just one team in the Euroleague. One should be realistic and say that our maximum would be three teams, but two minimum. And we, from three teams, came down to 2+1, then two, then one and what kind of one at that. That should never have happened.”
Not only did it end up with just one team in EuroLeague but it doesn’t focus on homegrown players, something Sagadin was well-known for: “Now, we don’t have more than one team, we are a League that doesn’t develop local players, but rather buy all kinds from the outside. Sit down people and make an agreement, because basketball will go down even further.”
Photo Credit: ABA Liga