Sabonis and Valanciunas expected to play for Lithuania NT in EuroBasket 2022

2022-03-14 13:00
Credit: FIBA, USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix | Basketnews illustration
Credit FIBA, USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix | Basketnews illustration

Although not without recent slumps, the Lithuanian national team is one of the most formidable forces in European basketball. The head coach of the team, Kazys Maksvytis, has a tall task of arranging a team that features important players from both the EuroLeague and the NBA.

However, in a recent interview with BasketNews' Karolis Tiskevicius, Maksvytis provided positive news for the fans all around Lithuania.

"Both Domas [Sabonis] and Jonas [Valanciunas] have given me a confirmation that they're going to play in the EuroBasket 2022," Maksvytis told during the interview.

Points this season

Points made: 79,5
Accuracy: 45,6%
Place in standings: 1
Record max: 89
Record min: 74
Best scorer: Osvaldas Olisevičius

"I think that we'll have three centers for sure. I've talked to all of them, Donatas Motiejunas as well, maybe a little bit less with Arturas Gudaitis. Of course, it's a bit of a pain to make everybody happy and have a winning team at the same time, but it's a pleasant pain," Maksvytis explained. "The most important thing is that they remain healthy and ready to play. There might be times when we play with two centers at the same time."

Maksvytis is now a former head coach of BC Parma, a club that plays in the VTB United League. After the Russia-propagated war in Ukraine started, Maksvytis did not return to Russia after coaching the national team in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers window two weeks ago.

Maksvytis has ultimately terminated his contract with the club. He won't have to pay a fine but will receive no pay for either 4.5 months or the remaining 3 months of his contract. 

"On one hand, you lose a guaranteed contract, on the other hand - when one door closes, another one opens," Maksvytis told BasketNews about no longer coaching a club this current season.

"The Russian clubs themselves have a very unpleasant situation because their entire budgets are planned in rubles," Maksvytis continued. "I think that there are going to be issues with Russian basketball for the upcoming several years. There are going to be issues with finances, with international tournaments as well."

Being the head coach of the national team can be both a distraction and a driving force for not coaching a club throughout the season. Maksvytis reiterated the same notion during the interview.

"There are some talks but the national team is a significant inconvenience. One inconvenience has already been eliminated - the contract with Parma and its transfer fee. Not every club is ready to take on a head coach who can start working with the team only on September 20th," the coach explained the current situation."

"The preparation for the season is a very important step, the club would spend that period of time without its head coach. Not every club is ready for that commitment."

Has Maksvytis received increased attention from the biggest club in Lithuania, Zalgiris Kaunas?

"The head coach would not be able to participate in the preparation for the season, but I think Zalgiris management has taken that into account," Maksvytis explained. "I have an agreement with the basketball federation, I wouldn't just forfeit the national team and go to another club. If the opportunity is right, we can make it work."

Segments of the interview with coach Maksvytis (in Lithuanian):

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