Darussafaka Dogus coach David Blatt feels that both FIBA and EuroLeague Basketball need to do what’s best for the sport and end their conflict once and for all.
Speaking to Greek outlet Eurohoops, Blatt has said that for the good of the sport, both federations need to put their differences to bed, something that has been largely echoed throughout basketball’s large fraternity of supporters.
“That is a very long and painful subject to explain,” Blatt said. “I will talk about not the beginning but about the end of it. For the best interest of basketball, fans and players, this conflict needs to be solved. In order for all to enjoy high level basketball and to create a sustainable future for our game.”
Since introducing the Basketball Champions League, FIBA have worked with the domestic leagues to make sure that the top clubs side with their showpiece league. However, with the EuroLeague and EuroCup still housing the most competitive teams in their competition, FIBA has seen this as a problem and actually suspended nations that did not wish to join the Champions League.
Despite overturning the bans, European champions Spain and European powerhouses Slovenia were originally suspended from competing at next year’s Eurobasket for allowing their teams to choose the EuroCup over FIBA’s Champions League.
“I love playing international basketball, and it is sad that this is happening,” Baskonia’s Jaka Blazic, a Slovenian international said to TalkBasket during the 2016 EuroLeague Final Four.
“I hope that both FIBA and EuroLeague resolve its issues as no basketball player or fan wants to see conflict or arguments within their favourite sport.”
Despite the ongoing backroom issues within FIBA and EuroLeague Basketball, Blatt returns to Europe following a season and a half at the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he guided them to the NBA Finals in his first season, then steered them to an Eastern Conference-best 30-11 record before being controversially sacked.
But, even though he lost his job, his Tyronn Lue helped the Cavs claim their first NBA title in 52 years, overcoming the Golden State Warriors in seven games. Blatt certainly contributed to the success and is happy for the organisation but states that it is not his title, which could play factor in whether he will accept an NBA championship ring from the Cavaliers.
“It’s not my championship,” he says. “I have said many times that I congratulate players and the organisation for this historic success. I certainly contributed to it, they recognized that and I really appreciate it. That’s it.”
Moving forward now and Blatt currently holds the fort at Darussafaka Dogus, who are looking to become Istanbul’s top dogs, ahead of Fenerbahce, Anadolu Efes and Galatasaray with the latter coming into the new EuroLeague season as the current EuroCup champion.
Currently, Darussafaka Dogus are the hottest team in Europe right now, winning all ten of their pre-season games ahead of the new season and with the country looking forward to hosting the Final Four as well as the Eurobasket final rounds, Blatt goes as far as saying that Turkey is the mecca of European hoops.
“I think Turkish basketball today is the Mecca of European basketball obviously for having four Euroleague teams, so many great coaches and players, such great local league and the fact that twelve other teams will join four Turkish team in European competition every week is exciting and invigorating for basketball and it’s challenging for teams,” Blatt said.
“I’m glad that I’m a part of that and I hope that we can have a say in this tremendously challenging league this year.”
Darussafaka Dogus begin their TBL campaign on the road against Tofas Bursa on October 8, and begin their EuroLeague season against Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade five days later.