Mitnick: Coach expects Weems to stay in Lithuania; Papaloukas gets some burn



TEl AVIV – Sonny Weems might have his eye on a return to the NBA, but can he leave Lithuania? Weems’ team has been eliminated from Euroleague title contention, but his coach says he expects Weems to stay with Zalgaris Kaunas through the end of the domestic Lithuanian league and the regional VTB league seasons. “I do believe Sonny will remain through the rest of the season,” Zalgiris coach Aleksandar Trifunovic said after Maccabi Tel-Aviv knocked off Kaunas 70-66 to


Mitnick: Israeli Underdogs’ Journey To The Cup Finals


This past week, the majority of the leagues in Europe took a break from their season as teams competed in the Final Four of each country’s respected State Cups. Similar to the leagues in soccer, State Cups are a one-and-done tournament that consists of every team in the first and second division of each country, with two rounds being played out every six weeks or so. While the State Cup may not hold the same respect and demeanor as a


Gibson: Freeland Could Join Blazers; Andy Rautins Update


BARCELONA — Joel Freeland could be a Portland Trailblazer next year after all. Reports surfaced last week that the 25-year-old British power forward and Trail Blazers draftee (30th overall in 2006) had signed an extension with Unicaja Malaga of Spain, lending serious doubt to his NBA future.  After a 75-65 loss to Banca Civica Sevilla in the Copa del Rey, Joel Freeland said those reports were untrue. “We’ve always been talking since day one but there’s no agreement at this point,” said Freeland. When


Gibson: Update on Latavious Williams (Property of OKC Thunder)


BARCELONA — Latavious Williams misses American food.  Ask him what he craves most and there’s no hesitation. “My Auntie’s barbecue,” says Williams. But as his Auntie fires up the grill in Starkville, Mississippi, Latavious is playing power forward for Joventut Badalona of the Spanish League. When his two cousins visit later this month, odds are they won’t be sneaking any ribs through customs, either. No matter. The 6-foot-8 Williams, who says he lost a ton of weight upon his arrival in Spain, says he


Mitnick: Maccabi wins but “not in the Euroleague promise land” yet


With their backs against the wall, Israel’s Maccabi Tel-Aviv kept their Euroleague chances alive with a resounding 75-60 home win against Italy’s Bennet Cantu. After struggling in both the Israeli league and the Euroleague over the past several weeks, Maccabi turned a corner in the third quarter, displaying the brand of basketball that propelled them to an excellent first round of the Euroleague. While many were anticipating former Maccabi point guard Doron Perkins’ debut with Cantu back in the familiar Nokia Arena,


Weijia: One on one with Jeremy Lin


Jeremy Lin put on another show Wednesday night, logging his third consecutive 20-plus point game as the New York Knicks defeated the Washington Wizards 107-93. In Beijing, a certain columnist was back at work following an extended break for Chinese New Year, wondering whether his e-mail pal could pull off another one of the types of performances that had fans at Madison Square Garden chanting “M-V-P” two nights ago. Lin certainly did, with 23 points, 10 assists and four rebounds. Lin had


Gibson: Euroleague update: For Cantu, Doron Perkins Is a Risk Worth Taking


BARCELONA — This Thursday in Israel could mark Doron Perkins’ first Euroleague game in over 10 months. As far as Perkins is concerned, it couldn’t come in a better place; Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena has been home to many of Perkins’ finest moments with Maccabi. Only this Thursday, he might be sliding into his socks in the visitor’s locker room as a member of Bennet Cantu, a team that bested Maccabi 82-74 Thursday. Let’s rewind a bit. Last March in a playoff series


Mitnick: Update from Israel on Fran Vazquez (Magic) and Erazem Lorbek (Spurs)


TEL AVIV, Israel — Regal Barcelona put on a defensive clinic in Tel-Aviv against Maccabi in a round of 16 showdown between two of the powerhouse teams in the Euroleague. Barcelona’s stable of big men and heady guard play were too much for Maccabi to overcome, giving the Spanish squad a big 71-57 road victory. Barcelona’s frontcourt features two NBA prospects in Erazem Lorbek and Fran Vasquez, whose combination of size and skill was too much for Maccabi. With Sofoklis Schortsanitis