NBA - Farmar contemplates Europe return
Jordan Farmar will head back to the NBA impressed with the quality of basketball in Europe and eager to return one day after being a key player for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the New Jersey Nets point guard said.
Farmar won back-to-back NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 before he was traded to the Nets and he joined Maccabi in August in the wake of the NBA lockout, which is set to end on Christmas Day.
Having been a role player during most of his professional career, Farmar thrived in Maccabi after he became one of the team's pillars in the Euroleague.
"I very much contemplate the possibility of returning to Europe one day because I learnt so much playing here, a different style of basketball," Farmar told Reuters after Maccabi's 74-71 defeat at Partizan Belgrade on Thursday.
"Not having this opportunity before, I never knew what it was all about and in my mind the NBA was always the only option.
"Knowing that there is such high-level basketball in Europe, where the game is a a lot faster and more physical than in the NBA, will give me more options when the time comes to make a decision to move on."
Taken aback by the atmosphere in Belgrade's ramshackle Pionir Arena, where the home fans regularly raise the roof, Farmar will miss the level of noise.
"It was very special to be a part of this great experience and the atmosphere in European basketball is amazing because the fans feel like they are part of the game and they do everyting they can to help their team win," he said.
"There are only a few arenas in the NBA as noisy as Pionir or Maccabi's arena in Tel Aviv; the setting here is more akin to college basketball in the United States.
"It's a different culture and the fans here play a major part in helping their team get to the next level, whereas fans in the NBA just expect you to play at a certain level," he said.
While Farmar and another two dozen or so players moved to Europe during the lockout to maintain their fitness, most of the NBA's household names stayed across the Atlatntic waiting for the bitter labour dispute to end.
Some of them played an active role in ending the stalemate which started on July 1 but Maccabi coach David Blatt was more impressed with players such as Farmar and Partizan centre Nikola Pekovic who "chose basketball over money".
"We should all give great credit to Farmar and Pekovic for what they have done in the last few months because they chose basketball over litigation and legal matters," Blatt said.
"They chose to play the game over matters of money and they both did a great honour to their respective clubs and fans.
"Both of them will go back to the NBA better players because the Euroleague is better and they both deserve to do well because they acted and performed as basketball players should."
Blatt, who steered Russia to the 2007 European Championship title, saw Maccabi lose a rip-roaring contest against Partizan after an outstanding performance by forward Milan Macvan who scored 22 points, including a treble of crucial three-pointers.
Macvan joined Maccabi from Serbian team Hemofarm Vrsac last year but was loaned to Partizan in October after a difficult season with the winners of five Euroleague titles and Blatt said he had anticipated a roasting from the 22-year- old.
"Every time I coach a team against one of my former players they kill me," said Blatt. "I just knew this was going to happen, I dreamed about it and I knew I just shouldn't have come to the game," he joked.
Elsewhere in the Euroleague, holders Panathinaikos Athens strolled to a 94-76 win over Zagreb while six-time winners CSKA Moscow made it seven wins out of seven with an 81-78 success at Germany's Brose baskets thanks to a last-gasp three-pointer.