By Matthew Podgorsek, Zurnal24, May 15, 2009
The financial crisis has shaken Moscow Dinamo. "Since the Club violated the contract, the contract allows me to leave," Bostjan Nachbar tells Zurnal24. He hopes to return to the NBA.
Is your season with Dynamo ending or are you ending your journey in Moscow?
The last game is Sunday. Then we’ll talk about the future. We all know the situation is not the best and it will be discussed seriously since the contract binds me to two more years. The question is how can I get out of the contract, or how can I get the money that the club owes me. There will be some negotiations. I might know more in a week.
Before the season, the club had a great deal of money and is now in such a crisis?
I think the club had particularly high goals and believed that the money would be received from its sponsors. When we signed a contract last summer, there was no word of any crisis. The (economy) has affected our sponsor which is a real estate company. The Moscow real estate market has fallen the most, not just in Russia, but in the world. This could not have been expected, even by people in the club who signed the contract.. On one hand, they understand, but on the other hand, I am disappointed because I only want to respect the contract.
Is the impact of the crisis felt within Russian basketball?
I hear about it with other clubs, but ours is the worst because it’s linked to the real estate market. Most of the other sponsors are companies such as banks or oil companies. These are sponsors that do not die or go away so easily in a crisis.
What was the result this season?
The four Americans left us, the first left in December. This was reflected in the results. The team is now significantly different than the November roster.
Before the season you said the Russian league has become one of the strongest in Europe. Now that’s not so certain?
For some time, it was. The quality of the competition was building, especially in comparison with last season. CSKA Moscow remains a stop ahead of us all. It has an excellent team and continuity…but we are closer to the new standard. I think the Russian league is among he strongest in Europe, but still cannot compare to the Spanish league. Now with the departure of the foreign players, the quality has fallen back.
Did you want to leave because Dynamo did not make it to the Euroleague?
It’s true that I wanted to play in the Euroleague, but if the club should honor its commitments, we would not have to go. If the club was fair to me, if it wasn’t in breach of contract, it would not be required. Since the club violated the contract, the contract allows me to leave.
How have you been satisfied with your play? Last year, you were with the Nets at the height of your career. Was this episode with Dynamo a step back?
The quality of my game has not dropped. If you play for the Nets, you are much more exposed to the public (in Slovenia) than if you’re playing in Russia. Normally, if you put points up in the NBA, all the media in Slovenia will mention it. If you get 20 in Russia, it’s not so. This I expected. I think I had a good season. Finally, I was selected as the best forward in the Eurocup and was the third highest scorer in Russia. I do know I could have had a better season. If things were normal, the team would be better as would my game.
What now? Do you prefer the NBA or the Euroleague?
I will see. I can’t even talk to an NBA team before July 1. In Europe, however, they’re still playing the semi-finals and finals (of the domestic leagues). Thus, it’s too early to talk about where I will go. However, I want the NBA or one of the Euroleague clubs. That’s my wish. We will see in the summer. It will be necessary to wait a month or two.
Slobodan Subotic, the Olympiacos coach, proposed that they sign you, but instead they opted for Josh Childress. Would you now be interested in Olympiacos?
Last year, I was in contact with Olympiacos but they subsequently signed Josh Childress. Actually, I talked to Atlanta too. This was in essence a kind of triangle. Then, a very strong offer came from Dynamo and I went on my way. Surely I would have been proud to play with Olympiacos since the club has a strong history of very good players and a very high appeal. It would not be easy to say no to such a club.
Do you have any preference which team you would want to play for in the NBA?
I don’t think so. I do not know how I can be picky. I want to play and be with a significant team, like I did with the Nets. If I find that, it won’t matter if it’s New York or Memphis. The NBA is the NBA. It’s a different world. When you were there once, you understand that’s true.
Maybe America is a more attractive lifestyle than Russia?
Of course, they can’t be compared. I will not say Moscow has been a catastrophy. It has had its pluses and minuses. Certainly, I am more the type of man who prefers a normal life in New York. If the opportunity ever arose to play in New York or New Jersey, I would grab at it with both hands. There my career was at its most beautiful.
It will be difficult to find a new club in the NBA. Are you, after a year away, still "hot stuff"?
We’ll see this summer. The financial crisis has hit even in America, especially with the smaller teams. Not a lot of money available. It is primarily important that I find a club where I can play and be happy. The financial part is not the most important thing. A player wants to play, especially in the second half of his career. If it’s the NBA, it would be great to sign a long term contract, not just a one or two year deal. To me, that would be the best.
You’ll have time for a vacation this year?
After a week, I will get home and there will be some time for friends and family. At the end of June, I’ve got my basketball camp and that will take two weeks. At the end of July, I will have already picked a team. It will be a full summer.
This year, Slovenia (national team) will have very high goals.
Correct, but on the other hand, we must go step by step. High goals are nice to have but we have to be careful those goals don’t hinder us more than they benefit us. It is difficult to ask the fans to be patient in that sense will have to go game by game…if all of Slovenia is with us, if we stay together, game by game, we may go very high…