SPORTS

Papaloukas to return

Olympiakos looks set to bolster its efforts to wrestle the Greek basketball title from Panathinaikos’s firm grip by signing Greece point guard Theodoris Papaloukas. According to reports, the CSKA Moscow player has agreed to return on a three-year contract to the club he played for between 2001 and 2002. The move has not been officially announced yet but is expected to net CSKA, which was reluctant to let the player go, some 1 million euros. Papaloukas will reportedly earn at least 3 million euros per year, which is as much as the Russians were paying him. The Muscovites have won the Euroleague title twice since Papaloukas joined the club. Papaloukas scored 12 points in less than 25 minutes of play against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague final in May to help the Russians to yet another European title. He also had four assists and four rebounds. Papaloukas scored 23 points in the 2007 final in Athens but ended up on the losing side as Panathinaikos beat CSKA on its home court. The blow was softened for the playmaker when he was awarded the MVP award for the Euroleague’s regular season. A few months later, fans and journalists gave Papaloukas the ultimate accolade when he was voted the FIBA European Player of The Year for 2007. A return to Olympiakos would see Papaloukas team up with national team coach Panayiotis Yiannakis again. Yiannakis decided to drop Michalis Kakiouzis for the upcoming pre-Olympic qualifying tournament, so Papaloukas will take over as the team’s new captain. The 31-year-old has made 115 appearances for Greece since making his debut in 2000. He has scored 841 points, averaging 7.31 points a game. Speaking last summer, Papaloukas ruled out a return to Greece and said that he would like to try his luck in the NBA. But he was insistent that he wanted to move to a top-level side. Such a move did not materialize, despite reported interest from several teams.