One of the top American guards in European basketball shockingly became available today, less than a week before the opening round of the Euroleague. After a reported falling out with the coaching staff, Mire Chatman will be replaced at Dynamo Moscow by former Indiana Pacer Eddie Gill.
Last season the 6-2 explosive lead guard scored 19 points per game to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.8 steals last year while helping Dynamo Moscow win the ULEB Cup. The year before that he made his Euroleague debut with Pau-Orthez by averaging 16 points and 6.2 assists (tops in the league).
Chatman’s head coach at Dynamo, Dusan Ivkovic is by most accounts not the warmest personality to deal with-- to say the least--and its very surprising to see that he was not able to get past his differences with arguably his most important for the sake of his very talented team, widely considered contenders to make noise this year in the Euroleague.
In response to our inquiries about Chatman's status, his agent Craig McKenzie sent us the following press release via email:
The agent for Dynamo player Mire Chatman (Higher Vision Sports AMG) plans to travel to Moscow as soon as this weekend to discuss arrangement to buy-out the contract of the Player. Mire Chatman who in 2004-05 led the Euroleague in assists and who significantly helped the Dynamo Moscow Basketball Club win the ULEB CUP last season and advance to Euroleague this current season is now being ostracized by the Dynamo Coach for a difference in opinion and philosophy.
“I have had a player with Coach Dusan Ivkovic now going on 4 years and he is a great coach.” said the Player’s agent Craig McKenzie in a written statement. “However it seems now that every year a player goes through this random personal conflict with Coach Ivkovic’s that has little to do with actually winning basketball games. This year I guess it's our player. Mire Chatman has never had a problem like this before and many Clubs know he has solid character and is an extremely fine point guard--one of the best in Europe. Today we begin the process of finding him another Club in Europe or the NBA where he can have continued success,” said McKenzie.
Heavy speculation around Europe has already begun around where Chatman will land. There is little doubt that the timing of this move is poor, as Chatman is a player who was reportedly making around $800,000 net this year and will have a very difficult time finding that type of money on the market at the moment.
This week two Euroleague point guard jobs, both in France, were filled, although neither were for anywhere close to the type of money Chatman will be looking for. One was in Chatman's former team, Pau-Orthez, where Aaron Miles replaced John Gilchrist (who promptly signed in Nahariya in Israel). Miles will reportedly receive around $30,000 a month for his services. The other job was in LeMans, where Tyson Wheeler will make around $15,000 a month.
Other relatively high paying jobs that are open at the moment include Red Star in Serbia, who have between $250,000-300,000 to spend. Euroleague team Zalgiris just signed Kirk Penney as a temporary replacement for Marcelinho Machado, and could show interest. They probably don't have the budget to interest Chatman, though. Rome is another team who might take a look, but after just breaking the bank on signing Ognjen Askrabic, its questionable that they have that type of money either.
As far as Chatman is concerned, there is at least one large Euroleague club who are reportedly huge fans of his already, Maccabi Tel Aviv. After being drilled by the Cleveland Cavaliers and looking terrible in their other exhibition games, it wouldn't shock anyone if Maccabi made a quick change. The problem is that they will likely be looking to replace the player that is shouldering much of the blame for their terrible start--swingman Rodney Buford-- before they cut ties with their current American point/combo guard Will Bynum, who they are reportedly very happy with.
An interesting option would be to sign Chatman and play the two together, since their designated shooting guard Yotam Halperin has not exactly looked stellar so far either.
Although this might seem a bit farfetched, it wouldn't be a shock if Chatman even got some looks from NBA teams looking to catch a steal at this late point in October. He could be a great fit with the Miami Heat for example, since he seems to be exactly the type of player they seem to be looking for.It's worthwhile to add that Ivkovic failed to lead CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague champions for two consecutive seasons. After that he moved to Dynamo Moscow as the team's head coach.