CSKA Moscow lures Panathinaikos star with almost double the money

Panathinaikos basketball club, the reigning European and Greek champion, has parted ways with one of its leading players, Lithuanian forward Ramounas Siskauskas, who has transferred to CSKA Moscow, the Euroleague’s runner-up. Siskauskas, who spent just one season with Panathinaikos, will reportedly receive annual fees of 2 million euros at CSKA Moscow, almost double the 1.2-million-euro salary he was on at the Athens club. The Lithuanian is CSKA Moscow’s latest in a string of three major signings. It was preceded by the Russian club’s acquisitions of Greek star Nikos Zisis and power forward Marcus Goree. The three had spent the previous season together at Benetton Treviso, helping the Italian club win the domestic league title. Siskauskas’s unanticipated departure from Panathinaikos will force the club’s coach Zelimir Obradovic to search the transfer market for a worthy replacement. In 20 Euroleague games in the 2006-07 season, the 29-year-old Lithuanian registered an average of 10.9 points, a 50.7 percent success rate for two-point shots, 47.1 percent for three-point shots, 70.6 percent for free throws, 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. He stood as one of the Greek club’s most pivotal figures throughout the season. In another development at CSKA Moscow, the Russian club denied rumors that it was interested in signing another Greek player, Lazaros Papadopoulos, who has been with Dynamo Moscow since 2004. Reports had abounded that the 26-year-old Greek center was one of CSKA Moscow’s likeliest candidates for increased power under the basket. «I must admit that he is a top-class player who caused lots of problems for us in the Russian league, but we’re not interested and he is not on the list of possible signings,» said CSKA Moscow’s senior vice president, Andrey Vatutin. Though expressing displeasure at the prospect, Vatutin did not rule out the possibility of Thodoris Papaloukas’s departure from the Russian team for a career in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers, according to recent reports published by the Los Angeles Times, are preparing to offer Papaloukas a five-year contract worth a total of over 20 million euros. The NBA team is apparently not content with the players it stands to gain from the draft system and is expected to scout the European market as an alternative for a top-class point guard.

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