Credit: D.Repečka/BasketNews
Credit D.Repečka/BasketNews

For a team like Fenerbahce that under coach Obradovic reached the EuroLeague Final Four five times in a row, missing the major European event for two seasons straight is a pretty big deal. In the past two seasons, both Igor Kokoskov and Sasa Djordjevic failed to lead the team among the top four teams in Europe.

Free throws this season

74%
11,5
Points made: 11,5
Accuracy: 74,2%
Place in standings: 12
Record max: 21
Record min: 4
Most made FTs: Nando De Colo

Last season, Kokoskov and his men were eliminated by CSKA Moscow in the playoffs, while Djordjevic failed to reach the postseason this season. Sure, the domestic league is also an important goal, but EuroLeague remains the major ambition for this club, with the last title won back in the 2016-2017 season. 

In these last two years, Fenerbahce saw their rivals Anadolu Efes winning two EuroLeague titles in a row and taking over Europe, which cannot be bearable moving forward. But Fenerbahce will need some important changes over the summer to match Efes' dominance. 

The first major change will arrive on the bench. Dimitris Itoudis is expected to replace Sasa Djordjevic at the end of the season. The Greek head coach recently officially announced that he's leaving CSKA Moscow after eight years in Russia.

Itoudis also became the new head coach of the Greek national team, so he'll split time between the two roles. 

Djordjevic's tenure with Fenerbahce will end after just one season. The Serbian head coach was given a tough task. He had to coach a team that wasn't built for him since he replaced Igor Kokoskov right before the beginning of the training camp and when the whole roster was already made. 

Some fixes were made during the season, with the additions of Sehmus Hazer and Jehyve Floyd. Still, with a pretty high number of injuries, EuroLeague's decision to erase the results against the Russian teams, and inconsistent performances, Fener couldn't reach the EuroLeague playoffs. 

A good playoff run won't be enough to save coach Djorjdevic's job. In other circumstances, it would have probably made sense to give him at least another season to work with a team that was fully his, but with coach Itoudis available on the market, there's probably not a better name than him for Fenerbahce to build a new winning cycle. 

But despite the arrival of a great coach like Itoudis, there's still a lot of work to do regarding the roster. 

Jan Vesely, the main star of the team, is expected to leave Fenerbahce after spending eight years in Istanbul. The Czech big man has already reportedly agreed to a multi-year deal with Spanish powerhouse Barcelona, where he will replace Brandon Davies. 

Despite some injuries, Vesely again had a spectacular season for Fenerbahce, averaging 13.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in EuroLeague. At 32, he's still one of the elite big men on the continent, so replacing him won't be easy. 

One of the main names that Fenerbahce are considering replacing Vesely with is Nikola Milutinov. The Serbian big man has another year left on his contract with CSKA Moscow, but with the Russian side almost sure to be out from EuroLeague for next season, it's highly likely that Milutinov will be able to part ways with CSKA before the natural expiring of his contract. 

In joining Fenerbahce, Milutinov would make a reunion with Dimitris Itoudis, the man who has coached him in the past two seasons. Still, the star forward also gains a strong interest from other EuroLeague clubs, including Virtus Bologna and Milutinov's former club Olympiacos, sources have told BasketNews. 

Chinanu Onuaku could represent another option for the center role. The Louisville alumn exploded this season with Bnei Herzliya in Israel, becoming one of the best players in the league and forcing Maccabi Tel Aviv out of the playoffs.

Drafted by the Houston Rockets in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, Onuaku is another of those names that Fenerbahce are looking at with interest. 

For the power forward position, Fenerbahce are looking increasingly confident in finalizing a deal with Johnathan Motley, sources have told BasketNews. The 27-year-old player had a fantastic season with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia before the invasion of Ukraine.

Motley then left the team and started to look for other options for the following season. As things currently stand, it looks like Motley is set to find a new home in Istanbul next season. 

Another potential addition for Fenerbahce might arrive from Italy. Canadian point guard Naz Mitrou-Long had a fantastic season with Germani Brescia. He was named rookie of the year in the Italian Serie A and started to draw interest from some top EuroLeague clubs, China, and a couple of NBA scouts. 

Mitrou-Long has been on the radar of Fenerbahce for a while. The Turkish club followed his progress with a lot of interest throughout the season, and they're interested in signing him for the next year.

While uncertainty surrounds the future of Nando De Colo and Pierria Henry, Fenerbahce must start to plan accordingly, and the 28-year-old point guard could represent an excellent solution for coach Itoudis.

Other teams, though, remain in the mix for Mitrou-Long, including Armani Exchange Milan and Olympiacos, sources have told BasketNews. 

The Turkish powerhouse had also followed French guard Elie Okobo for a while, but the former Suns player is now expected to leave ASVEL and join Monaco, as it was reported by our Donatas Urbonas

Another name linked to Fenerbahce for the backcourt is Nick Calathes. The 33-year-old Greek/American guard has another year left on his contract with Barcelona, but his status heading into the next season remains uncertain.

A potential departure from the Catalan side cannot be ruled out at the moment, with Fenerbahce monitoring the situation. Calathes had already worked with coach Itoudis during his time at Panathinaikos when the coach was still the main assistant of Zeljko Obradovic. 

Except for Marko Guduric and Dyshawn Pierre, there are very few guarantees in Fenerbahce's roster for next season. Even players under contract through the next seasons, like Achille Polonara and Devin Booker, are not sure about remaining in Istanbul.

The Italian forward draws interest from his home country powerhouse Virtus Bologna, which looks to bolster their frontcourt. Meanwhile, Booker could become a very good option for several EuroLeague clubs if Fener decides not to continue with him next season. 

For the moment, only a few things are certain: the roster will change considerably, and Fener will do everything possible to match coach Itoudis's ambition and help him to bring the club back into the top four of the EuroLeague. 

There's still a lot of work ahead, but for a club that saw its best days under coach Zeljko Obradovic, who's better than his former apprentice to help regain the elite status that has been lost in the last couple of seasons? 

 

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Position Player Status
PG Pierria Henry Signed until 2022 +1
PG Ismet Akpinar Signed until 2022 +1
SG Sehmus Hazer Signed until 2024
SF Marko Guduric Signed until 2023
SF Dyshawn Pierre Signed until 2023 +1
SF/PF Metecan Birsen Signed until 2023 + 1
PF Achille Polonara Signed until 2023 +1
C Devin Booker Signed until 2023
Coach Aleksandar Djordjevic
Expired contract Nando De Colo, Melih Mahmutoglu, Tarik Biberovic, Danilo Barthel, Jan Vesely, Ahmet Duverioglu, Jehyve Floyd, Markel Starks
Rumored to leave Jan Vesely (story), Aleksandar Djordjevic, Pierria Henry, Danilo Barthel, Markel Starks
Interested Johnathan Motley (story), Naz Mitrou-Long (story), Nick Calathes (story), Dimitris Itoudis, Jordan Mickey (story), Elie Okobo (story), Nikola Milutinov

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