Olympiakos is sticking to their favorite contract renewal tactic for another key-player of the team in the case of Matt Lojeski. Are the Reds playing with fire or are they simply not too interested?
So, the Lojeski file An asset for Olympiacos' game, a contract that expires An issue I've wanted to talk for a while now on a more formal basis in order to exchange opinions and approach the case realistically as much as possible by chucking the veil of subjectivity (which, in any case, is there) regarding what is defined as the 'right path' and 'rationalism'. I'm going to start by speaking my own thoughts out loud, simply as an opportunity for every reader to make their own argument on what is Olympiacos supposed to do with this very important player.
Just a reminder that in this year'sELthe 32-year-oldG/Fhas 10.4PTS (57.5% 2PT-42.4%-82,4% FT) 3.2 REB, 1.6 AST, 0.5 STL, 1.0 TO 21.3.
-Lojeski is 32 years old. His aim is the 'good' contract of his career. He must get paid- and paid he will be- whether by Olympiakos or someone else. He has worked for that and now the time has come to reap the fruits of his work and patience. Any negotiation will start on a 2-year basis, which makes sense considering his age
-He wants to stay in Piraeus. He clearly stated that. Both he and his family like it there. Athens is their city now This is the same person who stayed for 6 years in Belgium, 4 of which in Ostend. He prefers stability over change or moving. This is important. Some professionals (Americans in particular, especially in this profession) do not hesitate to travel around the globe following the money ('when you play away from home, you want to earn as much as possible' is a line I have heard by many). Some others do.
-Deep in his heart he is expecting a phone call right now. Ideally he would have preferred if he had already renewed with an amount (lower but still) close to what he believes he deserves. He is not the type of professional to sit on his contract. A classic example of the Wisconsin sport society, he carries this Hard working-Soft speaking style, which many athletes of this region with a career in professional sports carry. He commits. He will not get complacent.
-A little after the beginning of season 2014-15, the Reds approached the American wingand renewed for two more years his contract that was to expire in the summer of 2015. Back then Olympiacos redeemed the 350,000 ticket with multiple benefits in the court. A great G/Ffor whom only Maccabi had expressed real interest during his last season in Ostend (the first 'big' team that really got interested in Matt).
Both his game and his character (inside and outside of the court) were a perfect match in the Olympiacos environment. Lojeski now knows precisely what to do in the court. I personally enjoy watching him He is one of the most effective players by playing on the weak side of the offense, not due to his shooting abilities, but because he has a broad range of options most of which stem from his ability to play with the ball and to create even late in a play, by going deep and exploring the defense with an effectiveness met in better creators. His attitude in Close outoffense is clearly the third pillar of the Reds' half-court offense with Spanoulis's PnR and Printezis's Post ups. What Lojeski brings to the table is a polished pull up jumper, good drive, ability to cut through the defense with a bounce pass or even make it chase, with a skip pass over everyone's head.
- Lojeski is one of the best shooters in Europe today and in recent years. Olympiacos's management have externalized their thought, going as far as calling him 'the best shooter in Europe', however, sometimes spontaneity is a bad advisor since it has now built up the expectation that he should be paid as such.. In 2013, Real Madrid (Olympiacos main competitor every year, different budget, but same goals) gave a four-year contract to the then30-year-old Jaycee Carroll and last year (the third year of the agreement) extended it until 2019. That means that they invest in a well-trained player of a certain making, that theywant to keep him in Madrid until he is 36. Carroll is there since 2011. Lojeski, like Carroll, made his big step in the highest Euroleague level when he was 28. These kind of shooters have their way of surviving for long in this level, especially with the current need for such players. Lojeski does not have Carroll's aggressiveness, who greatly trusts his hands and fights like a lion when the game has turned into a roulette, with the value of this characteristic being expressed persuasively and repeatedly in cases where Real is on the ropes. However, Olympiacos'sG/F, who this year will be four years in the team, can do other things better than Real's Mormon. His game is a 'constant' for the Greek champions. And in a year where Spanoulis will reach 35, the team will need more evenings such 'constants' to lean on
-Lojeski is not one of the three best SF in Euroleague today. Darius Miller, for example, is a much more complete player. Hanga's package is more influential within the four lines. He does not transform like 'Daniel Day Lewis' Bogdan Bogdanovic (G/F) does, from a Defensive Stopperwho will chase Spanoulis into Spanoulis himself the next minute in court. The the Belgian national team international is close to this elite but not quite there. Somewhere close to the statusofKC Rivers,who is younger, does not have Lojeski's talent in transition or close out offense, but plays better defense and holds a Euroleague trophy. He is an excellent third choice in the offense of a top-team, and the great adaptability of his game (he comfortably stands against a half-court offense a la Brose as well as against an up tempo base such as Real or Baskonia) may open more doors for him in the market.
If necessary, can Olympiacos replace Lojeski?
They certainly can. Of course, they will once again go back to looking for the 'bargain', which comes with a certain risk, but they have proven to have the know-how to do so to a certain degree. Realistically speaking, the chances to find an addition as good in every level as Lojeski are not great, but they exist. Olympiacos has lost (due to this tactic) players such as Hines and Sloukas (in this case the loss wasn't one of a mainly financial nature) in recent years. But they have managed to replace them to a considerable degree by staying faithful to their own plan that includes a specific financial policy. There are several players of 350-400 thousands out there who can bring elements from the Lojeski package to the team. This (together with the successful choices of recent years) is the biggest bargaining chip the Reds have in this case. The Olympiacos of the strong domestic core, of the inviolable hierarchy and the persistence of the principles of this particular philosophy will remain strong even without Lojeski. But at this level, the difference is in the details. From the locker room to the court... And Lojeski's package has several of these details that make Olympiacos solid and at the same time 'lethal' in order to remain up there in recent years. Based on the current picture of the roster (and given that logic under no circumstances dictates many changes of persons in the summer), I reject the idea that the Reds will move into the next season exclusively with the pair of Papanikolaou-Papapetrou in '3' without a wing who can shoot and play with the ball, giving Lojeski's foreign-player spot to a PF. In such an event, their offense will be more limited..On the other hand, with the American/Belgian in a more mature age and in a more specific role (shootingspecialist+minutes in '2' where Spanoulis will need more protection) the Red-Whites will be able to give Papapetrou more minutes more safely, upgrading the time and role of the Greek forward.
I have the feeling that if Olympiacos is willing to renew Lojeski, he will seek to close the deal by offering 1.5 (maybe a bit more) million in total for a two-year contract, and start negotiating from a number significantly lower, in order to reach an agreement. On the other hand, the player will start negotiating from 1.7-1.75 million euros for a minimum two-year deal. He knows well that he can get more money if he places himself in the market, and get offers from good clubs with high goals. However, if the financial issue was his only priority, we would not be having this conversation. It would be extremely difficult for the player to stay with Olympiacos. It's possible that within the month (before the EL playoffs) the Reds will approach the 32-year -old sharpshooter mainly to express their interest to stay with the team. I believe that the number they have in mind is very specific, whether they approach him now, or in the summer. Now, i.e. during the season, it's not the best of decision to play negotiation poker, and the 'moving the contact point' game, as an initial rejection in an offer he does not consider to reflect his value, may mess with his mind, reflect on his game, and affect his team. Lojeski is much better than many of the players that are paid over a million euros (or close to that) around Europe. However, he will not get close to that number with Olympiacos. If they really want to keep the player at Piraeus, the approach and the willingness to make a final offer close to the amount I mentioned above as a starting offer for the player will play a major role. From what we can gather so far, it seems that Olympiacos will wait until the end of the season to reassess the situation. However, it may be too late then...
It is a thin line, that much is understandable. Olympiacos must renew Lojeski. Most of all, though, they must renew him at the right price..
Canterbury Rams (NBL) landed 25-year old American guard McKenzie Moore (198-86kg-92, college: UTEP, agency: Two Points). It is actually his comeback to Rams as he has played here before. Moore He played recently at Promitheas in Greek A2 league. In 26 games he averaged 11.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.5apg and 1.4spg this season. The last summer Moore played at Rams where in 13 NBL games he was fifth best scorer with impressive 22.4ppg and recorded 6.2rpg, 8.0apg (leader !!!) and 3.4spg (leader !!!). H... [read more]
Canterbury Rams (NBL) landed 25-year old American guard McKenzie Moore (198-86kg-92, college: UTEP, agency: Two Points). It is actually his comeback to Rams as he has played here before. Moore He played recently at Promitheas in Greek A2 league. In 26 games he averaged 11.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.5apg and 1.4spg this season. The last summer Moore played at Rams where in 13 NBL games he was fifth best scorer with impressive 22.4ppg and recorded 6.2rpg, 8.0apg (leader !!!) and 3.4spg (leader !!!). He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the semifinals. It was a very successful season in his career as he was awarded Australiabasket.com All-New Zealand NBL Player of the Year, Import Player of the Year and Guard of the Year. Moore has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2016. He has played previously professionally in Belgium (Leuven Bears) and New Zealand (Giants). Moore attended Univ.of Texas at El Paso until 2014 and it is his third season in pro basketball.
A1 Round 3 of Play-Offs. AGOR overcome Kolossos to advance - 4 days ago
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AGOR - Kolossos HH 69-55 AGOR advanced into quarterfinal stage. They overcame Kolossos in the decider. The game was mostly controlled by AGOR. Kolossos HH managed to win second period 23-15. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. It was a good game for forward Haralampos Giannopoulos (200-89) who led his team to a victory with 20 points. American guard Walter Lemon-Jr (190-92, college: Bradley) contributed with 20 points (went 8 for 8 at the free throw line)... [read more]
AGOR advanced into quarterfinal stage. They overcame Kolossos in the decider. The game was mostly controlled by AGOR. Kolossos HH managed to win second period 23-15. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. It was a good game for forward Haralampos Giannopoulos (200-89) who led his team to a victory with 20 points. American guard Walter Lemon-Jr (190-92, college: Bradley) contributed with 20 points (went 8 for 8 at the free throw line) for the winners. Four AGOR players scored in double figures. The former international forward Panagiotis Vasilopoulos (202-84) answered with 15 points and American forward Juvonte Reddic (206-92, college: VCU) added 10 points in the effort for Kolossos HH. Both coaches used bench players which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. Top scorers: AGOR: W.Lemon Jr. 20+1reb+2ast, H.Giannopoulos 20+4reb+1ast, R.Arnold 14+6reb+1ast, G.Talton 10+2reb+4ast, T.Fitzpatrick 3+14reb+1ast, G.Panaretakis 2 Kolossos HH: P.Vasilopoulos 15+4reb+3ast, J.Reddic 10+4reb, R.Ahonen 10+4reb, E.Watson 9+5reb, C.Saloustros 5+6reb+1ast, T.Releford 4+4reb+3ast
Giannis Antetokounmpo's 30 points make him top Greek player abroad of the week - 4 days ago
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We bring you last week's top performances from Greeks who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level. This week's number one is an international swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo (211-94, agency: Octagon Europe). He could not help the Milwaukee Bucks (42-40) in their last game. Despite Antetokounmpo's very good performance the Milwaukee Bucks (42-40) were crushed 118-93 on the road by the Toronto Raptors.
We bring you last week's top performances from Greeks who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level.
#1. This week's number one is an international swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo (211-94, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in NBA). He could not help the Milwaukee Bucks (42-40) in their last game. Despite Antetokounmpo's very good performance the Milwaukee Bucks (42-40) were crushed 118-93 on the road by the Toronto Raptors.
He was the top scorer with 30 points. Antetokounmpo also added 9 rebounds, passed 3 assists and added 3 blocks in 41 minutes on the court.
It's Antetokounmpo's fourth season with the team.
He has individually a very good year with high stats. Antetokounmpo averages: 22.9ppg, 8.8rpg, 5.4apg, 1.8bpg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 56.2%(651-1159), 3FGP: 27.7% and FT: 75.8% in 85 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: Greek and Nigerian.
Antetokounmpo is currently a member of the Greek senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to an international guard Konstantinos Sloukas (197-90, currently plays in Euroleague). He contributed to an easy victory against the closely-ranked Panathinaikos (19-11) 79-61 in the Euroleague last Tuesday.
Sloukas scored 6 points and added 4 assists.
Fenerbahce Istanbul (18-12) is placed fifth in the Euroleague.
They ended the series of three consecutive loses.
Sloukas' overall stats this season are: 9.5ppg, 2.1rpg, 4.6apg, 2FGP: 45.5%, 3FGP: 43.3% and FT: 88.1%.
He is in the roster of the Greek senior national team.
#3. The Greek player who performed third best last week abroad was former international power forward Ian Vougioukas (212-85, college: St.Louis, currently plays in VTB United League). Vougioukas led his Russian team Lokomotiv to a victory against the bottom-ranked Parma (1-23) 84-71 in the VTB United League on Wednesday night.
He scored 12 points, had 5 rebounds and dished 3 assists in a mere 19 minutes.
Lokomotiv Kuban (19-5) is placed fourth in group A.
It was his team's sixth consecutive victory in a row.
There are only three games left until the end of the VTB United League Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
It's Vougioukas' first season with the team.
Vougioukas has relatively good stats this year: 10.1ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 59.0%(85-144) and FT: 78.3% in 24 games.
Former Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus starter played for the Greek national team three years ago.
#4. An experienced power forward Fotios Lampropoulos (206-83, currently plays in Argentina) was the major contributor in an Boca Juniors' victory against the ninth-ranked Atenas (18-30) 114-103 in the Argentinian LigaA in Tuesday night's game.
He recorded 27 points (!!!) and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Aerochaco Boca Juniors Capital Feder (17-33) is placed tenth in Sur group.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
This season Lampropoulos has very high stats. He averages: 16.5ppg, 8.8rpg and 1.8apg.
Lampropoulos used to play for the Greek U18 national team
back in 2003.
#5. Former international guard Dimitrios Katsivelis (196-91, currently plays in Kazakhstan) contributed to an easy victory against the league outsider Tobol crushing them 99-70 in the Kazakhstan National League last Friday.
He recorded 10 points and added 4 assists.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. BK Astana (16-0) is placed first in the National League.
So far his team won all sixteen games in the Semi-Finals.
Katsivelis' overall stats this season are: 9.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 6.4apg and 2.6spg.
He used to play for the Greek national team
four years ago.
#6. Small forward Stratos Perperoglou (203-84, currently plays in Spain) managed to help FC Barcelona Lassa in a victory against the closely-ranked Unicaja Malaga (18-10) 89-70 in the Spanish Liga Endesa on Sunday night.
Perperoglou scored only 2 points in 10 minutes.
FC Barcelona Lassa (19-9) is placed fifth in the Liga Endesa.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be important.
This year Perperoglou's overall stats are: 8.0ppg and 2.5rpg in 22 games.
He is an international player who is currently on the senior Greek National Team roster.
#7. Former U20 international swingman Anastasios Traianos (197-87, currently plays in United Kingdom) was not able to help Manchester Giants in their game against Bristol Acadamy Flyers (16-17) in the British BBL.
Traianos recorded only 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
The bottom-ranked Manchester Giants was defeated 89-81 in Bristol by the higher-ranked Acadamy Flyers (#7).
The Regular Season already ended.
Traianos' total stats this season are: 5.4ppg and 2.8rpg.
He used to play for the Greek U20 national team
eleven years ago.
The list of other players, who all have Greek passport but never been selected to any of Greek national teams:
#1.Zach Auguste (208-C-93, agency: Pensack Sports, college: Notre Dame, currently plays in Turkey). He could not help Usak Sportlif (8-19) to beat Tofas (12-15).
Auguste scored 9 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 20 minutes.
But Usak Sportlif lost 69-82 on the road to the higher-ranked (#9) Tofas.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Auguste has relatively solid stats: 11.7ppg and 7.5rpg in 23 games he played so far.
He is a naturalized American.
Strangely Auguste has never played in Greece.
#2.Nikolaos Stylianou (198-F-88, college: W.Texas A&M, currently plays in Cyprus) led Keravnos to a 1-point victory against the closely-ranked AEK (16-4) 80-79 in the Cypriot Division A on Tuesday night.
He recorded 11 points.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Keravnos Strovolou (14-1) is placed first in the Division A.
It was his team's tenth consecutive victory in a row.
This season Stylianou has relatively solid stats: 10.9ppg, 3.4rpg and 1.8apg.
He has a dual citizenship: Greek and Cypriot.
#3.Trian Iliadis (190-G-89, college: ODU, currently plays in Australia) led Wanneroo to a victory over the ninth-ranked Lightning (3-5) crushing them 98-78 in the Australian State League (second division) in Friday night's game.
Iliadis was MVP of the game. He scored 19 points in 24 minutes.
Joondalup City Wanneroo Wolves (5-1) are placed third in SBL group.
But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen.
Iliadis is one of the most experienced players in a team as it's his fourth year in Wanneroo's roster.
Iliadis has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages: 19.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.2apg and 2.6spg in five games.
Iliadis is another player who holds two passports: Greek and Australian.
Despite his Greek nationality, Iliadis previously played for the Australian university national team and is probably not eligible to play for the Greek team.
#4. Experienced Vassilis Kounas (194-G-84, currently plays in Cyprus) was not able to help one of league's weakest teams Apoel (11-9) in their last game on Tuesday. Despite Kounas' good performance Apoel was defeated 73-64 at home by the second-ranked AEK.
He was the second best scorer with 13 points. Kounas also added 5 rebounds.
Kounas is one of the most experienced players in a team as it's his fourth year in Apoel's roster.
His total stats this season are: 7.6ppg, 2.4rpg and 2.6apg.
Kounas has both Greek and Cypriot nationalities.
#5.Maximiliano Sole (198-F-88, agency: Duran International, currently plays in Spain) contributed to a Real Madrid II's victory against the seventh-ranked Villarrobledo (15-13) 79-71 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) last Saturday.
He recorded 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 38 minutes.
Real Madrid II (22-6) is placed first in Group B.
It was his team's fourth consecutive victory in a row.
There are only two games left until the end of the Regular Season.
This year Sole has relatively solid stats: 11.9ppg, 8.4rpg, 2.4apg and 1.6spg in 28 games.
He also holds two passports: Uruguayan and Greek.
#6.Patrick Calathes (207-F-85, college: St.Joseph's, currently plays in Italy) was not able to secure a victory for AV Cantu in their game against Vanoli Cremona in the Italian Serie A. Calathes cannot count Sunday's game as one of the best ones.
He recorded only 2 points.
His team was defeated 93-82.
Calathes' total stats this season are: 7.0ppg and 4.7rpg.
He is a naturalized American.
Calathes used to play for Costa Cafe Marousi in Greek league.
#7.Max Calligeros (197-F/C-92, currently plays in Australia) helped Sturt Sabres win their game against the leader North Adelaide Rockets 77-64 in the Australian State League (second division) in Saturday night's game.
He scored 8 points in 15 minutes.
This year Calligeros' total stats are: 4.8ppg and 2.3rpg in four games.
He has dual citizenship: Greek and Australian.
#8.Grant Fiorentinos (208-F/C-92, college: SIU Edwardsville, currently plays in New Zealand) couldn't help Hawks (1-6) in their last game on Tuesday. Despite Fiorentinos' good performance the bottom-ranked Hawks were badly defeated 106-89 in Christchurch by the higher-ranked Rams (#3).
He recorded 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
This season Fiorentinos has very high stats. He averages: 15.3ppg, 6.4rpg and 1.3apg.
Fiorentinos holds both British and Greek passports.
Despite his Greek nationality, Fiorentinos previously played for the British U20 national team and probably cannot be called to the Greek team.
#9.Emils Duselis (192-G/F, currently plays in Australia) helped Hills Hornets win their game against the sixth-ranked Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 74-71 in the Australian State League (second division) on Saturday night.
He scored 11 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 27 minutes.
This year Duselis has relatively solid stats: 12.6ppg, 5.3rpg and 4.9apg in eight games.
He has Greek and Australian nationalities.
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