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Spanoulis claims he cannot go back to the NBA because he is too homesick and cannot adjust to life outside of Greece. I must admit that I am shocked to read these kinds of admissions coming from the mouth of a grown man, an accomplished professional basketball player (with a signed contract, I might add...), whose goal should be to constantly strive to improve his game and aim higher. :o

Maybe it's because I live in Houston, or that I am a PAO and a (now former) Spanoulis fan, but I really wanted this guy to make it in the NBA - or at least TRY! Virtually every other nation in Europe that plays basketball has had at least one very successful player in the NBA; Greeks just don't seem to be able to adjust. :angry: I don't think that players like Okur are any better than someone like Tsartsaris or Dikoudis, yet I bet you that if either of the latter two went to the NBA they would be warming the bench until they too quit and came home...

Here is a link to a Houston Chronicle article on the Spanoulis situation. It comes with loads of pages of reader commentary and reactions, some pretty bone-headed.

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You beat me to it mouxritsa.

I can sincerely sympathise with your frustartion as a Greek living in Houston.

It is patriotic of you to hope for Spanoulis' success with the Rockets.

On the bottom of this page is my comment on the subject;


Opinions are great, but like the old saying, they are like a$$..les, everyone has one. Let's get to some facts. Span left a very good European team (Panathinaikos Athens) for his dream to play in the NBA. He was on contract with his team, but had a very low buy-out clause, only 350.000 euro I believe. His team was devastated upon his exit, but supported his choice. Span made this hard decision based on his contract that guaranteed him a minimum playtime with the Rockets, of something like 8 mins per game.

Money was NEVER an issue with him, Panathinaikos was ready to match any offer, as they had shown in the past. V-Span was cheated by his coach, who is no longer with the Rox, we all know that. Span had little knowledge of what he was getting himself into. He was used to a certain kind of mentality in Europe, where players, coaches, owners and even fans are very tight. I have lived in Europe and have experienced the atmosphere of live soccer and basketball games, there is nothing I could say to describe it, unless you personally witness it.

I think when he speaks of cultural differences, he mostly means "mentality".

I am sure he misses Greece, his friends and mom, the beautiful beaches and lifestyle, but that is not why he wants to leave. He wants to leave because he realizes that he is not comfortable with the team environment, and NBA mentality. He was not given the playtime promised and mostly due to bad psychology, did not perform well in the few chances he was given. The issue is one of chemistry, he did not feel the love and was not able to adapt. On top of all that, he realised what a mistake he made by leaving Greece and Panathinaikos, when they won the European Champions (Fiba Euroleague) trophy, while his Houston team had little to cheer for. His former employer is ready to give him his starting job back, and an awesome contract. He is simply faced with the choice of starting PG for the European Champions, amongst friends, in his country, in front of a mad crowd of 20K insane fans chanting his name, for an equivalent sum of $$$ ...

Or he can warm the bench in Houston TX, resentful, unappreciated, and deceived, watching his career go by him, for the futile promise of the NBAmerican dream. Quite often reality is not what dreams are made of. I am certain that Span would have never made the move if he was better informed of the reality of the NBA. He simply realised he made a mistake.

The premise that contracts are binding and he should stick to his, is ridiculous to say the least. Contracts are broken every day, in business, sports and everyday life. What is the benefit to either party to hold someone against their will? Nothing personal here, it is not Greece vs US, nor the NBA vs Euroleague. Neither Houston, the American, nor Greek lifestyle, nor the Greek American community are at fault here. A man had a vision of things that did not realise as he imagined them, or as they were presented. He shares part of the blame, but so do the Rox. Let's just be gentlemen and end it at that.

Good luck Rox, take care V-Span.

7/5/2007 1:50:05 PM


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  • 2 weeks later...

GRE - Report: Spurs ready to release Spanoulis

SAN ANTONIO (NBA) - They may have only traded for him last week, but the San Antonio Spurs appear ready to grant Vassilis Spanoulis a release from his contract so he can return to Greece.

The Spurs traded the rights to Argentina star Luis Scola and Jackie Butler to Houston for Spanoulis last week despite knowing that the Greek guard has no intention of returning to the United States next season.

According to a report in Tuesday's San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs will grant Spanoulis his release if he is willing to forfeit the $1.9 million he is due this season in the last guaranteed year of a contract that was due to run until 2009.

The deal would save the Spurs $4 million in total salary and luxury tax.

Spanoulis's agent, Miodrag Raznatovic indicated there is strong chance the player will accept the deal as he remains adamant he wants to stay in Greece.

"He loves Spurs, but he desperately wants to stay in Europe," Raznatovic told the Express-News. "If somebody does not want to play for such a great team, coach and organisation as (San Antonio) is, it's probably clear that he really must stay in Europe. We hope that (San Antonio) will respect his wish."

Spanoulis appeared in 31 games for Houston last season, averaging 2.7 points, 0.9 assists and 8.8 minutes.

The former Panathinaikos star is eager to return to the Euroleague champions but cannot sign with the team until he has been granted a release by the Spurs.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are due to introduce Scola later on Tuesday but are not ready to confirm that the forward has secured his own release from Spanish club Tau Ceramica.

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