The way Olimpia Milano got rid of Mike James was disrespectful
Last season Milano made a huge upset for all of their fans. Firstly, they didn’t enter in the Italian Cup Semifinals, being swept by Virtus Bologna. In National competition, they finish in the first place the regular season with a good record of 23-7. But in the playoffs, the story wasn`t the same. They didn’t even qualify for the Italian League Finals, being beaten by Dinamo Sassari with an unbelievable 3-0, with two games finished in overtime. Also, in Euroleague, despite their big-budget, they finished only in the 12th place with a 14-16 record.
This summer they have signed a new head coach in Ettore Messina, former European Coach of the year and Gregg Popovich`s assistant at San Antonio Spurs. They bring in a lot of new faces like Aaron White, Michael Roll, Ricardo Moraschini, Paul Biligha. However, the biggest names they brought in are Sergio Rodriguez, last year Euroleague champion with CSKA Moscow and Shelvin Mack, 29 years-old combo guard with 456 NBA games.
Those big names came with a price. The club had to renounce at two big players in James Nunnally, former Euroleague champion with Fenerbahce and Mike James, last year top scorer and the most efficient player in the Euroleague. In the beginning, Messina stated that he will rely on Mike`s offensive skills and will count on his services, but after several weeks, after the signing of Shelvin Mack and Sergio Rodriguez, he explained that Mike is no longer wanted in Milano and he needs to find a new team.
When heard that statement, Mike James reacted on Twitter saying that he will not leave Milano, because he signed a 2+1 years contract and wants to be paid. After several negotiations, Milano and Mike James reached an agreement to finish the player`s contract. The biggest problem is the Italian powerhouse decided a bit late to get rid of Mike James. If the player would have known from June about the intentions of the club, he could find easily a good team in Europe. Now almost all the big clubs (F.C. Barcelona, Fenerbahce, CSKA, Real Madrid, Panathinaikos) have the roster completed. That makes his choices to sign much more limited. He has not so many options, because of the late departure from Olimpia Milano, a club who firstly assured Mike James that he is without a doubt part of the core of the squad for the next season and then trying desperately to get rid of him. This is embarrassing and even more disrespectful to do it with the best scorer in Europe!
It`s interesting to see where Mike James will end up, with several reports saying that Maccabi Tel-Aviv keeping an eye on Mike`s situation, because they want him, as they see Mike a very good acquisition, according to his last year 19.4 points, 6.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds stats. On the other hand, James Nunnally is expected to sign in China with the Shanghai Sharks.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc