Joe Arlauckas talks personnel decisions with Fenerbahce, Milan and Zalgiris bosses
The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas returns with the second part of a special podcast with three well-respected general managers from Turkish Airlines EuroLeague clubs who share their experiences and behind-the-scenes insights. Maurizio Gherardini of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, Christos Stavropoulos of AX Armani Exchange Milan and Paulius Motiejunas of Zalgiris Kaunas chatted with Arlauckas in this two-part panel discussion that touches on a wide range of topics. Part 1 was released on April 14.
The friendships and common ground that the three GMs share was clear during the episode, in which they discussed hiring coaches and signing players as well as dealing with the other end, firing or replacing them. coaching and releasing players.
Motiejunas spoke about the coaching situation at Zalgiris the past few seasons with Sarunas Jasikevicius growing in stature and the growing fear that he may not be able to keep him, which eventually proved to be the case last summer. He needed some encouragement in his coaching search and found guidance from his mentor, Gherardini.
[1:17:25] "To replace a guy like Saras, it's impossible. We want to have a Lithuanian mentality and I started with Lithuanian coaches. Of course, not a lot were available. But then I spoke to Maurizio as well. I'm like, what can I do to replace a guy like that? Someone to fill his shoes, it's impossible," Motiejunas said. "And I still remember to this day. He's like, 'Think outside the box.' Such a simple thing helped have the balls to take a risk and go talk to the coaches who are not well known in Europe."
One part of the general manager job that many fans envy is the ability to sign players and build teams. However, the flip side of that is releasing players and when it comes to club legends, that situation becomes more complicated. Stavropoulos explained why that situation is even more difficult after this season.
[1:27:35] "I think the most important thing is to respect the player. It's very helpful to have a solid relationship with him and if the separation is coming, to come naturally," Stavropoulos said. "I think that right now it's difficult because we played without fans, with empty stands. For the players right now, without cheering from the fans, it's so tough for the players."
Naturally, no basketball podcast this season would be complete without bringing up COVID-19. All three agreed on the wide impact it has had not only on the sport, but also the people who make it happen: the players, coaches, fans and everyone else. Because of that, they are all quite pleased with the fact that we are now on the doorstep of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs after a successful regular season.
[1:37:30] "I think we need to be proud collectively of what we achieved. I think we achieved it also because clubs worked together to make things easier for everybody, traveling, connecting, playing games," said Gherardini. "I think EuroLeague and the clubs made the right adjustments. And I think as a league, we must be proud that we completed the regular season. When we started, we were all hoping we would get to this point… We kept our basketball product alive. And we kept it alive also for people to enjoy from home, which was not that easy to predict when we made those adjustments and started the league in October."
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the EuroLeague. The Crossover debuted in 2018 and has featured such current stars as Toko Shengelia, Shane Larkin and Kyle Hines, coaching greats such as Ettore Messina, Pablo Laso and Zeljko Obradovic, and legends like Theo Papaloukas, Nikola Vujcic and Mike Batiste, among others. The first guests in Season 3 were FC Bayern Munich Coach Andrea Trinchieri, Zalgiris Kaunas star Marius Grigonis, Kostas Papanikolaou of Olympiacos Piraeus and CSKA Moscow assistant coach Darryl Middleton, Kevin Pangos of Zenit St Petersburg and Norris Cole of LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas is available on Youtube, iTunes, Audioboom, Spotify, Deezer, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, CastBox, iVoox and other platforms.