Maccabi Tel Aviv BC is doing quite the summer cleaning. In with the new and out with the old as new/old head Coach Neven Spahjia returns to Europe after three seasons in the NBA as the assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
With Spahjia comes in a new guard John DiBartolomeo, a new/old forward Jake Cohen, a new shooting guard in Michael Roll, a new/old center Alex Tyus, a new/old assistant coach Guy Goodes along with a Tal Burstein who is an old player but a new assistant coach.
Do you get it? What’s old is new and what’s new is old. Or something like that.
The question will now be how many old players will Maccabi hold over from last season.
Gal Mekel a new/old guard was told that his services are no longer required, DJ Seely headed back to Gran Canaria where he will be a new/old guard for them, Yogev Ohayon is looking at Europe after he was bought out and Maik Zirbes has also been told to find a new team so maybe he’ll be a new/old center for one of his prior teams.
That leaves new/old Joe Alexander, Sylven Landesberg, Colton Iverson, Andrew Goudelock, Victor Rudd, Quincy Miller, Devin Smith, Nimrod Levi, and Itay Segev left.
Segev and Levi will return, Landesberg, Goudelock (seems to have been told he’s not in the plans), Rudd, Smith, Iverson will most probably be out with Miller and Alexander being the only real question marks after performing admirably down the stretch for the team.
If I’m Maccabi I’d keep both without a question. Miller showed us that he can be a dominating force on both ends of the floor while Alexander when used properly is an excellent veteran Israeli (that’s a key) presence.
Spahjia has plenty of work to do and the fun is just beginning. It’s clear that the team is looking at both DiBartolomeo and Roll to be good characters players both on the court and in the lockerroom which will be crucial going into the season after last year’s lockerroom debacles. The Croatian will also want to build a team that can play both in Israel with the Russian Rule (restricting the amount of foreigners on the court to no more than 3 at all times) and in the Euroleague. That way he won’t have to worry about the on court personnel which was something Ainars Bagatskis kept talking about as soon as he took over the team in December 2016.
There’s still a long way to go but it’s clear that there is a plan in place, what it is time will tell. But there is one thing I just realized though… what ever happened to assistant coach Lior Lublin… oh well.