Malcolm Delaney: My priority was long-term security and a bigger role

2020-05-14T13:34:12+00:00 2020-05-14T13:54:52+00:00.

Antigoni Zachari

14/May/20 13:34

Eurohoops.net

Malcolm Delaney opened up to Eurohoops upon the announcement of his contract termination by Barcelona.

By Nikos Varlas / varlas@eurohoops.net

Malcolm Delaney talked to Eurohoops shortly after the termination of his contract with Barcelona and he opened up about his decision to leave the team and his feelings on the termination.

Delaney cleared out that he never got an extension offer from the team, then he explained that his decision to get back to the States was about having access to his family and to training facilities.

Furthermore, he revealed what hurt his feelings during this two-month period and his sacrifices throughout the season, even if he wasn’t a starter with Heurtel and Pangos injured. As he admitted to Eurohoops, Delaney has only good feelings about the club and for the fans that warmly embraced him and the only thing he was expecting was somebody from the team to reach out to him and talk open and honest about his future in Barcelona.

Eurohoops: How did the termination of the contract happen?

Malcolm Delaney: First, I see how the fans talked about the stuff I said about staying in Barcelona, how I wanted to stay there for a long time. When I signed in Barcelona, I did not sign to play for one year. I want that to be clear. I only do this for the fans, I don’t care about anybody else, because the fans really embraced me, and for my former teammates. This decision was the best for me. This wasn’t for Barcelona, this wasn’t for any other club, this decision I made was for myself. When I signed, I didn’t wanna sign anywhere in Europe for one year. For a one-year contract, I would have gotten back to China. I want people to understand that when I signed in Barcelona I said, and I repeatedly said throughout the year, I love this city, the fans embraced me. Barcelona was a place where I could see myself end my career. This wasn’t fake, it wasn’t for show, I felt like Barcelona could be my home.

Throughout the season, when I went to Barcelona, I  didn’t expect to be a superstar on the team, I just wanted to come in and fill in a role. I knew what I had to do, I knew I should have been a priority on the team, but I didn’t go there to try and take the most shots. The role in the team wasn’t comfortable for me, I felt like I should be starting. I felt like I wanted to play a bigger role and that is in Barcelona or somewhere else. Thomas [Heurtel] wasn’t playing, Kevin Pangos wasn’t playing, I still wasn’t a starter. I was the only point guard in the roster and I didn’t start. As much as I didn’t like it, I was all about the team. When people talk about money, or whatever, I sacrificed the most out of anybody on the team. I took less money than I would normally take to play in Barcelona. I took less of a role. I played 22 minutes per game, that was pretty much how many minutes I played in the NBA. I sacrificed a lot. If anybody wants to call me selfish or anything, go back and look at my minutes, how many shots a took per game. There wasn’t any place for me in the system, this was all about the team. I felt like I deserved an extension and I never received an offer. Barcelona never asked me to extend. My agents told them it was something we needed to discuss because there would be interest from other teams.

Even before the situation with the coronavirus, I thought I should be offered an extension. That kind of changed my mentality because I felt like I was giving my all to a club and it wasn’t the same in return. I have no disrespect for Barcelona, I don’t have anything negative to say about Barcelona. I talked to everyone and always said I wanted to be in Barcelona. It was out of my hands, I didn’t have an offer from Barcelona.

When you talk about finishing the season, for me it was very simple. This wasn’t an issue, I didn’t want to stay home. My plan was to go back to the team, but I wanted to make sure that one, there was going to be a season and two, that at least we would talk about the next season. Even if it wasn’t for a future offer or anything. I wanted them to express some type of security for me for next season. There were talking about plans for playing in July. I wasn’t going to play then if there wasn’t some type of security.

Eurohoops: How the termination came so quickly?

Delaney: Well, it wasn’t quick. This is something me and my agents were talking about over the last few weeks. It wasn’t about money, it wasn’t about anything business-related, it was about my health. That’s why I came home. I wasn’t going to sit in Barcelona by myself for two months. When I decided to come home, it was about to do so and train. I have access to my family and a basketball court at my house, I have a gym in my house. I have more space, I could go outside to train. I didn’t come home to go on vacation, that is not true. Barcelona media reported that I was in Mexico with my friends and posted an older photo from my time with the Hawks. I haven’t left my house since I came back.

What eventually determined my decision to terminate the contract was because I didn’t feel comfortable about four-five weeks ago. Barcelona started doing training through Zoom. When they first announced that, it was 11 AM Barcelona time, which means 5 AM my time. When I saw it, I messaged the trainer and told him I can’t participate and asked if they could move it back three hours or something like that. I felt like they should have tried to include me in the training. He messaged me back and said he will try to fix the time and then eventually he said he couldn’t. I’m not sure why, but I felt like I wasn’t part of the team. They excluded me and I didn’t really appreciate that. I haven’t talked to coach Pesic since early March, probably since our last game. Since I went home I haven’t talked to anybody. The only person I talked to was our trainer and our team doctor reached out to me to make sure I was okay. Nobody from the front office reached out. It felt wrong, especially when a player sacrifices so much. Everybody said how they wanted me to be in Barcelona but nobody would check on me.

Maybe the budget situation wasn’t right, but my only thing was communication. Someone could have communicated with me and say “Malcolm, we want you to stay”. Even if they offered me something that wasn’t great, at least make an offer.

I would like to thank the club and my teammates and staff for having me. We had a fun year and I think we would have won the EuroLeague and ACB if they had never stopped.