By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
Introduced to representatives of the media as the new head coach of Fenerbahce Beko, Dimitris Itoudis opened up on the early moves in the offseason, including Scottie Wilbekin and Jan Vesely.
“Talks with Scottie Wilbekin are ongoing,” he noted regarding the Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv player linked to the Turkish giant, “There are also negotiations between the two clubs. I am sure our president will do anything possible for the team.”
“We are in talks with a lot of players in the market. Scottie Wilbekin is one of them, but it is a challenging process,” described GM Derya Yannier, “The player has a contract with his team, and another team is interested very seriously in him. Therefore, we are trying to undertake any sacrifices we could for this addition. The board is doing everything in its power too by trying to facilitate the process for us. We don’t have a clear picture for now. I hope it becomes certain in the upcoming days.”
“There are rumors about many players,” he additionally explained, “When it comes to Fenerbahce, people enjoy throwing out names. I am not going to be disclosing any details about any other names, but as the coach said, we are in talks with many players. We are trying to build the best chemistry possible. As you know, it is like completing a puzzle. We need to stick the pieces together. One plus one is not always equal to two in basketball. Therefore, it is important to create the right chemistry in terms of team and player characters.”
Wilbekin, 29, has been linked with other teams of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague as well, despite his contract with Maccabi stretching through the 2022-23 season. His 2021-22 efforts translated into 15.4 points, 4.1 assists, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per EuroLeague contest, plus 13.3 points, 3.8 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game in Israel’s Winner League.
Vesely, 32, is considering a contract extension offer while FC Barcelona attempts to secure his services. The Czech big man averaged 13.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in his 11th EuroLeague campaign.
“I had the chance to talk with Jan Vesely,” noted Itoudis, “We all know how important Vesely is to Fenerbahce. I also know the club has made an offer to him but it will be up to him and his family.”
“Jan Vesely is a very important part of this family for the past eight years,” added Yannier, “First and foremost, he is a player that identifies with Fenerbahce and its fans at this point. He has a huge role in the success so far. We’ve been in talks with him for a long while. At this point, it depends entirely on him to decide whether to stay or leave, but I can say that sometimes one might decide in a different way after spending so much time in a certain spot. Jan is an extremely important player for us. The board has undertaken any sacrifice to keep him, but either way, we will have to respect whatever he decides for his future and his family.”
His former player in CSKA, Nando de Colo is another free agent coming out of Fener. Meanwhile, his new team has already completed the additions of Johnathan Motley and Samet Geyik. In the opposite direction, both Danilo Barthel and Ahmet Duverioglu were released.
“Nando De Colo is a significant piece of our club, as well,” said Yannier, “We have finished the season very well. It was a very tough season, but thankfully, it finished so well. After the season, we had nice good-byes with each and every player. We are still in talks with Nando. Obviously, the coach’s technical evaluation will be more important than anything else, but we are talking with Nando. His contract expires this summer, but he is a special player for us and the fans. I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We are constantly talking with the coach. We are trying to gather things together. We will have answers to all the questions in the upcoming days.”
Photo Credit: Fenerbahce Beko Twitter
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