Jonas Kazlauskas is among candidates to coach Lithuania

Jonas KazlauskasLithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) president Vladas Garastas told to lrytas.lt that the original plan to wait until March before the new coach is appointed has changed. Garastas declared that during the next LKF board meeting (October 21) he will propose three coaches as potential candidates to coach Lithuanian national team. This list includes arguably the best Lithuanian coaches at the moment. The board will then pick one or two coaches and will start holding negotiations with them.

Three coaches in Garastas's mind are: Jonas Kazlauskas, Rimas Kurtinaitis and Kestutis Kemzura. The situation of Kazlauskas is the most complicated since he is the head coach of Greece national team and his contract runs for one more year. However, the possibility of buying-out Kazlauskas's conract will be considered. In one of the recent interviews Vladas Garastas claimed that Jonas Kazlauskas would be appointed as a head coach of Lithuania right away if he was available.

Another obstacle of gettin Kazlauskas is his wage. Vladas Garastas told that the head coach of Lithuania earns even up to 10 times less than his colleagues in other top teams in the world. He mentioned David Blatt, head coach of Russia, as an example who earns 2.5 million euros per year. Though, can a team aiming for the highest goals pay their head coach that much less than other teams and expect the same results?

Rimas Kurtinaitis, who is widely considered as the favourite to become the new head coach of Lithuania, wasn't so willing to declare his interest in the job especially after the fiasco in Eurobasket 2009. Lithuania was among the worst teams in the championship and managed to win only 1 out of six games that they played and Rimas Kurtinaitis was an assistant coach there. Lately Kurtinaitis was more open to the opportunity of becoming the head coach of the national team.

Kestutis Kemzura could be in a unique position if he is chosen among the coaches that will offered the job as he already has an offer to stay as a head coach of Latvia. Despite unsuccessful showing at Eurobasket 2009 the officials of Latvian basketball have faith in the young coach and asked him to decide whether to remain in his position until October 15. Vladas Garastas said that he will ask Kemzura to delay his answer to the Latvians in order to keep him available for Lithuania.

LKF president also told that Lithuania is already invited to play in a World Championships Turkey 2010 preparation tournament which will be held in Spain. It will include World and European champions Spain as well as Olympic champions USA. He also revealed that the national team has lots of other offers from different teams. Lithuania needs a wild card in order to play in Turkey next year.