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Papaloukas to be highest paid player

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GRE - Papaloukas to pen new CSKA deal

Posted ImageSemi Finals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Saitama, Japan. 01.09.2006. Greece defeats USA. Photo credits: Castoria/Ciamillo

ATHENS (Superleague) - Theo Papaloukas is preparing to sign a new three-year contract at CSKA Moscow that will make him the highest-paid player in Europe.

The 6ft 7in point guard, the MVP of this year's Euroleague, was prepared to leave for the NBA if the right offer came along but nothing has.

CSKA want to keep the player in Moscow and are offering him three million euros per season.

"I heard about the interest in me from several teams, but I never got an official offer in writing," Papaloukas said.

"Only two teams approached me and told me that they wanted me to say 'yes' verbally. Neither was a team I wanted."

Papaloukas, 30, grabbed everyone's attention at last year's FIBA World Championship in Japan.

He had one of his finest moments in the semi-finals against a United States team made up of leading NBA players.

Papaloukas had 12 assists to go with his eight points as Greece won 101-95 to advance to the gold medal game against Spain.

He had earlier been named MVP of the 2006 Euroleague Final Four following CSKA's title triumph over Maccabi Tel Aviv, while this year he was voted MVP of the Euroleague.

"I was hearing that Dallas, the Lakers, Chicago were interested in me but they never came to me, either because there was no interest in the first place or they didn't have room for me (salary cap)," Papaloukas said.

"Anyway, the biggest probability is that I will stay with CSKA.

"I haven't signed yet, but we are very close."

Despite failing to land an NBA deal, Papaloukas showed in his interview with ERA Sport last weekend he has maintained his sense of humour.

"If I had to go to USA," he said, "I would have found it rather difficult, anyway, because of my fear of aeroplanes."

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