Basketball team “Khimki” (Moscow region) had already completed ahead of schedule in Russia and is interrupted in the Euroleague season 2019/20. The United League was suspended at the time when the “Khimki” confidently was in the lead, and in the continental tournament, they are included in the zone of hitting in the playoffs. Correspondent “RG” talked with the General Director of BC Khimki Pavel Astakhov.
The General Director of basketball club “Khimki” Pavel Astakhov. Photo: Valery sharifulin/TASS
Let’s start with the most vital. Euroleague has promised to announce a decision on thegrove of the season on may 25, that is, the wait is already less than a week. For your sense, there is a chance that basketball this summer we will see?
Pavel Astakhov: By and large we all long for basketball. I want to do is already their main activity. The Euroleague is now considering several options for the end of the season. But in reality, we get the following situation: despite relief in connection with the removal of the quarantine, no definitely can’t say we will finish the season or not. The plan was to finish the regular season a bit more than 50 games and spend so-called “Final eight”. But how to do it? It is necessary to collect 18 teams in one place, put them in quarantine, then give them time to prepare and hold the competition, which required more than twenty days. This is a very difficult task. That is, it is theoretically possible, but in practice I can’t even imagine how it will look. So we are all really looking forward to Monday, may 25, when the Euroleague needs to announce its decision.
And you want the season resumed? For example, players from different clubs there is no unequivocal opinion on the matter…
Pavel Astakhov: Certainly, we would like to finish this season. Before the break we were in seventh place in the regular season. If you now resume the tournament, we will have a good chance to get into the “Final eight”. And there probably will climb even higher. But now it’s all because of hypothetical reasoning. If a positive decision is made, we will begin systematic preparation. The main thing now to clarify all the technical details. Because we do not know even where it can be finished.
It is believed that the clubs may be at a disadvantage, since some teams have already gathered and trained, and others this possibility yet…
Pavel Astakhov: You know, even if someone was, for example, “Crvena Zvezda”, it can hardly be called a full-fledged training. First, it occurs only a few days. And then after such a long idle, still need at least two to three weeks to allow players scored at least some shape. So I would not dramatize the situation. In General, all will be in equal conditions.
Back to the “Khimki”. In early April you said that the club thinks about the optimization of costs. At what stage is this process?
Pavel Astakhov: we are Now that produced estimates of losses incurred as a result of stopping of the Championships. The final amount can not yet be recorded in view of uncertainty in the Euroleague. If a tournament decides to play, on the one hand will lead to additional costs, on the other, our sponsors will receive a signal that we take part in competitions. Too early to call any figures, but the fact that we this season will lose hundreds of millions of rubles, that’s for sure.
Recently 60-year anniversary celebrated the team’s coach Rimas Kurtinaitis. Satisfied for the moment with his work? Already discussed with the coach’s plans and lineup for next season?
Pavel Astakhov: Rimas is the coach, which is associated with the best page of the basketball club “Khimki”. With him we won the European Cup once took a Single League. With him we play in the finals of the playoffs of the League. Of course, we have previously discussed the construction of our squad for next season, but to specifics until the case is heard, because nothing is clear. It is unclear what format will be next season, with the audience we will play or not, what is important from the point of view of sale of tickets and season tickets. So, everything on pause.
All interested in the fate of Alexey Shved, who is rumored to return to the NBA. I ask the question in the fans, as they say in the forehead: what else besides money can be interested in Alexei that he was in “Khimki”?
Pavel Astakhov: I think for the time that Alex stands for “Khimki”, he already knew that it was his club. Here it should be comfortable both in gaming and in human terms. He is our leader even when purchased new players, sometimes consult with Alex. That is, it is not just highly paid player, and part of our team, and very important. And, of course, we want it left in “Khimki”, and then brought joy to us and our fans with his play. At the moment preliminary talks with his representatives was held. Now because of the same situation with the Euroleague, we all paused. If daigriva season is one story, and if not, immediately proceed to further negotiations. I think if it would have any serious proposal from the NBA, and it is not even about money, but about roles in the team, then hold it will not be easy. I think, despite the fact that the Swede was already there, he will still accept this challenge, but under certain safeguards of the club and the coach. But if such proposals are forthcoming, I see no reason why he should change club, where he is the absolute leader on some other European. But in any case, it will be his decision.
Many are also concerned about the future of Timofey Mozgov. The fact that, according to the coach and players, the center was already close to returning to the site, will have a value in negotiations about the further cooperation?
Pavel Astakhov: Certainly it will. Indeed, a week before the suspension of the season Timothy was training in full force. It is clear that after two years of inactivity is not easy to return to the former condition and the feeling of basketball. But step by step it happens. A little sore knee, not without it. And in this respect, we were not lucky: if the season has not been stopped, we would have seen Timothy at the site. And even now, if the Euroleague resumes, the Brain will be ready to play. In this regard, of course, against the next season will talk to him, to do everything that he stayed and helped us.
What about other players? Maybe some decisions were made before the pause?
Pavel Astakhov: it is Impossible now to decide anything, because much is unclear. What budget will be for next season, in what European tournaments we will play. We have a license for the Euroleague is not constant: for the fourth season, we go there on the principle of sport, winning the silver medal in the United League. And the budget significantly depends, we play in Euroleague or Eurocup. In Europe you can still do with players not as expensive and upscale, which is required in the Euroleague.
Since you said about the sports principle. RBF still has not resolved the issue with the definition of the champion of Russia. Assuming the current table in the regular season, the title seems to be should go to “Khimki”. What do you think about this at the moment?
Pavel Astakhov: We are in a situation when suddenly was stopped by the season. Here there is no blame, this is a General trend all over the world. In some countries decided to determine the champion based on the current standings, the championship of Ukraine was left without Champions. We in the “Khimki” can be one opinion, but in VTB United League clubs voted that the champion will not be determined. This is the right League, there’s nothing you can do about it. The same goes for the title of champion of Russia. For us it would be prestigious to get it, we were never the Champions of the country. But if the League decides not to identify a champion, we obey it. And next season will win the title at the site.