“It’s totally confusing,” said Vasily Karasev, once one of Russia’s best players and now coach of Zenit in the Russian basketball league. “Sergey is totally healthy. But the coach seems to be thinking something different: he said that he does not see Sergey as part of the team. Based on what I’ve seen personally – the team is in total disarray. If I went there myself – even that would be better. The team has no game.”
“Sergey is starting to discuss trade scenarios. He’s a young guy (22), he has to play. He feels that he’s fully rehabbed, that his health is good. So to sit on the bench for a whole year is just not acceptable,” said Vasily Karasev
“I do not understand how a player who last year went out and started 16 games and helped his team win, can be permanently benched and not play just based on the coach’s whim. I do not know, maybe there are some political reasons.”
A league source confirmed that Karasev would like to be traded.
Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:
On the other hand…
Karasev, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
“My dad, he’s my biggest fan, so he has his own opinion. I can’t control what he says to the press. A lot of people want that I play, especially back home in Russia, so they have their own opinion,’’ Karasev said at morning shootaround before a game against the Celtics. “I’m with the Nets. I love this organization, I like Coach Hollins, so I just keep working hard. I’m just with this team right now. All my focus, all my mind is to win the game. That’s why I’m here.’’
Karasev can distance himself from his dad’s comments, but that doesn’t change the situation at hand. The Nets wouldn’t even exercise his modest $2,463,754 team option. If he somehow starts playing better, they can’t exceed his option salary for him next season. They’re awful and still don’t deem him rotation-worthy
Why wouldn’t he want a trade?
No team will trade for him – short of it being part of a bigger package – without intending to give him more playing time. Plus, there’s at least an argument he could receive a larger salary next season .
Complaining publicly doesn’t help. It could tick off Lionel Hollins and put Karasev at risk of an NBA fine.
So, Karasev is saying the right things.
But it’d be completely understandable if he’d welcome a deal.