Filip Petrusev Serbia
Photo: FIBA Basketball

Olympiacos Piraeus center Filip Petrusev referred to himself as “collateral damage” in the NBA trade process that saw him leave the Philadelphia 76ers, eventually returning to the EuroLeague.

“Literally, I had nothing to do with it, it was some numbers and some other things around the contract that got me traded,” Petrusev told to Mozzart Sport. “I received calls from the coach later, at a time when I didn’t know I was going to be traded. That’s how it is in the NBA when superstars move from team to team, there is a lot of collateral damage if you can say that, and I was one of them.”

Following the James Harden trade, Filip Petrusev was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Los Angeles Clippers and subsequently to the Sacramento Kings, who waived him after just two games.

“In the NBA, when in the middle of the season you move as a young and unproven player to another team, it is very difficult to impose yourself. During the season, there are no trainings and it’s really inconvenient, if that team is full and ready, as in my case it was in Sacramento, you don’t have time to prove yourself and find a place.

“Then they send you to the Development League and then everything was quite different for me, who played in the Euroleague and had success in it. It’s hard to navigate all that, especially the next few weeks or a month after the trade.”

After being released by the Kings, Filip Petrusev signed a multiyear deal with Olympiacos, returning to EuroLeague. He became a steady contributor to Olympiacos, playing a crucial role in their Greek Cup Final victory over Panathinaikos AKTOR with 10 points.

“When I started playing, even he [Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas] didn’t know exactly what to expect from me, because it was already known who was doing what in the team,” Petrusev said. “Olympiakos was not in great shape at that moment, they won some games, lost some, but it was known what they needed and what they lacked.

“That’s where I found my place, even more so in the ‘four’ position. Barcokas, again, uses a lot of players in the rotation, in the first five it is already known who does what, in the second there were a lot of doubts. I jumped into that space and together with a few other players we understood what was required and expected. Everything came by itself, I imposed myself with personal qualities with which I can help.”