Oh wasn’t it all so grand.
With the eyes of the European basketball world upon them, Partizan defeated eventual champ Panathinaikos in front of a European record 22,567 fans. That’s more than ANY NBA team averaged in 2008-09.
A happy moment for Serbian host city Belgrade, indeed. A happiness that was to be cut short by a tough economy and the residual effects of politics.
Here were Partizan’s top scorers from that game, followed by where they will be playing in the 2009-10 Euroleague season:
Stephane Lasme– The big from Gabon is heading to Maccabi Tel Aviv
Novicka Velickovic– Euroleague’s 2009 Rising Star will be lacing them up for Madrid
Uros Tripkovic– The young shooting guard will be…well…somewhere else. Perhaps Rome?
Not to mention their team’s leader in minutes and most consistent force, Milenko Tepic, who made on of the big splashes of the offseason by signing with Panathinaikos.
So it will be a different squad trotting out there for the 2009-10 Partizan squad, but no worries, right? Serbia has been known to bring along their youngsters at an alarmingly successful rate. Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Marko Jaric, and Darko Millicic (OK…ignore that last one) are on the list of players who have cashed in on NBA teams, while 2009 scoring leader Igor Rakocevic and all-time rebounding king Mirsad Turkcan have been some of the best Euroleague players in the past decade, and maybe ever.
Hold that thought.
Today the Serbian basketball federation announced that players from Montenegro and Bosnia will now be considered “foreign”. So this renders Partizan’s Slavko Vranes and Zarko Rakocevic strangers in their own land, limiting the free agent flexibility of the Serbian squad, as Serbian basketball law limits the number of “foreign” players on each team.
Obviously, this hasn’t been the most well-received announcement. All we can say for now is that we’ll see what happens.
I suppose the guy who thought of this idea watched the video above and said to himself, “Hmm…how can I destroy all of this positive energy and replace it with resentful malaise?”
Dumb. Monumentally dumb.