This offseason for CSKA fans is far from the most rosy. After a second consecutive playoff loss, and even in the centenary year, the club entered a systemic restructuring. Russian assistants to head coach Emil Raikovich have been replaced. Gone is the best center back in the VTB league and current regular season MVP Nikola Milutinov. I also had to say goodbye to the Americans Devonte Kaykok and Dallas Moore, and to the Russian players, when renewing contracts, the army team offered to make concessions and reduce salary appetites by a third at once – it worked.
Indeed, already at the beginning of June, CSKA president Andrey Vatutin did not hide the fact that the club would live in serious savings mode for at least several seasons and would definitely have to avoid big expenses.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, most sports clubs have been in a difficult economic situation, we are no exception. Since then, the club has experienced four funding cuts, as well as the loss of sponsors. At the same time, we were looking for new sources of funding to keep the budget at roughly the same level. At the end of 2021, serious agreements with sponsors appeared, on the basis of which the team was built for the next seasons. Unfortunately, after February 2022, these deals were forced to cancel. At the same time, the contracts of many players and coaches, signed before, were long-term and guaranteed, and we continue to fulfill them in good faith,” said the Army president.
It is clear that even a giant like CSKA is not easy in the current conditions. What’s more, a few years ago, the most titled club in our country was left without a stadium. The USK CSKA home was demolished and therefore the club now rents up to three sites: Megasport, Basket Hall Moscow and Dynamo Palace of Sports in Lavochkina.
Andrey Vatutin honestly said even then that he did not plan to renew the contract with Shved. At least in the conditions they were in. Alexei (along with Milutinov) was one of the highest paid players in the VTB United League.
Alexey Shved at CSKA
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
“Now in a year or two it is necessary to balance the financial situation, “big” acquisitions should not be expected. For the same reason, we cannot offer Alexei Shved the money he deserves. Yes, now is not the best moment in the club’s history, but we believe that the black streak is not forever. We must take it as a challenge, we will work even harder. Money decides a lot, but not everything: they can be replaced by passion, desire, perseverance. In order to have room to confidently maneuver in the future, we now need a step, or maybe two, back,” Vatutin said in an interview.
And now officially, the Swede and CSKA part ways. It was expected, but the news still aroused great interest in the media space. Because? First of all, because Shved is the face of the VTB League and all of Russian basketball. Everyone can relate to his playing style with as many shots as they want, but the fact will remain: it was Alexei Shved who was the main star of the VTB League after returning from the NBA. First in Khimki, then in CSKA. Next to him were expensive and basketball stars, but they were the ones who had to adapt to the Russian super-sniper, who confirmed his status with prizes in the Euroleague and EuroBasket.
Second, no matter how rarely Shved gave interviews, he was still the headline on the news agenda. People watched the Swede in arenas and on TV. The author of these lines was repeatedly convinced of the popular love for the Swede. In Saratov, Moscow, Samara, Kazan, St. Petersburg and even in Alma-Ata, crowds of people rushed to the CSKA star for a photo and autograph.
Now it will definitely not be in Russia. And this will definitely lose Russian basketball. No matter how hard it is now for someone to admit it.
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
“Offers from other clubs? There are problems with CSKA, I speak with other teams. There have already been proposals, but mostly not from Russia. The last time I spoke was when they called from China two days ago. We are simply not in a hurry, we are waiting. I will go and play where I want, and on good terms. Ready I wait. I don’t know where I want to play, the main thing is that I like it, I feel comfortable. It is important that my family likes this place,” Shved said before leaving.
According to the “Championship”, the views of Shved’s agents are now directed in two directions at once – China and Europe. It is not yet possible to say that Alexei leans towards one of them. And here the player is not cunning. In fact, he will choose the club based on the conditions of the family. Most importantly, Shved’s physical health has recovered from the assault incident and he is ready to continue his career.
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