The 2023-24 EuroLeague season tips off in just over two weeks and clubs are already playing exhibition games to prepare for the upcoming season. Final roster moves, and coaching changes, are being made as all 18 teams get ready for the upcoming Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season.
The EuroLeague transfer market went quiet for a while due to the FIBA World Cup, the majority of big-name free agents being signed already, and a lot of outstanding free agents still waiting to see if they could score an NBA deal somewhere. Now, that the FIBA World Cup is over, some notable free agents are still on the market, and NBA roster spots are few and far between. Expect there to be significant movement over the next couple of weeks as well as early into the season as teams finalize their rosters.
Plenty of drama still awaits us as well. Heading into this week, it seemed like all major moves had likely come to an end but then Virtus Bologna fired Sergio Scariolo on Friday following press conference comments he made earlier this week. So not only have they brought in a new coach but that could likely come with more transfers as well.
There are plenty of other moves we'll highlight from last week as well including Nemanja Bjelica, Arturs Zagars, and Jean Montero. Zagars and Montero are both coming off impressive showings at the 2023 FIBA World Cup but only one has been able to sign with a new team, while the under remains locked into a contract with a club he no longer wants to play with. Bjelica was one of the biggest names in EuroLeague basketball eight years ago but what does he still offer now, if anything, on a nightly basis? We'll recap all of that and more for last week's EuroLeague transfers and rumors round-up.
EuroLeague transfers and rumors: Luca Banchi replaces Sergio Scariolo at Virtus Bologna
There could not be two more opposite summers than Luca Banchi and Sergio Scariolo. Banchi’s has been a fairytale and Scariolo’s a nightmare. Scariolo was a finalist for the Toronto Raptors head coaching job but was ultimately passed over for Darko Rajakovic. Then, as head coach of the Spanish national team, he led them to a very underwhelming performance at the FIBA World Cup. Spain was the defending champions but ended up not even making the quarterfinals following their loss to Luca Banchi’s Latvia. Then, this past Friday, Scariolo was fired as head coach of Virtus Bologna a mere weeks before the season started.
While it’s always surprising when a head coach is fired weeks before the season starts, this was a firing that many saw coming. Two days earlier, Scariolo made remarks at a press conference about how the club, “built this team and they gave it to me. It's the management that built this roster and we should give them the necessary credit for doing the best within the resources available." It was the second time this summer Scariolo brought up the reduced budget, and owner Massimo Zanetti had had enough.
Luca Banchi was announced as his replacement later that day. The Italian is coming off guiding Latvia to the quarterfinals of the 2023 FIBA World Cup without Kristaps Porzingis. Banchi eliminated Scariolo and Spain about two weeks ago and now he’s taken his job at Virtus Bologna. Hopefully, Banchi can carry his good vibes to Bologna and help them qualify for the playoffs next season.