In a continuation of last week’s chat with Dirk Bauermann, heinnews’s David Hein asked the German basketball national team coach about the latest on Dirk Nowitzki playing at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey; the importance of Germany’s young players lining up with Nowitzki and Chris Kaman and speculation about Bayern Munich.
heinnews: You know me and when we talk at all about the German national team it’s almost an obligation to ask the Nowitzki Question. So, maybe you can give us an update on where things stand with Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman with preparations for the 2010 FIBA World Championship right around the corner.
Bauermann: I think both decisions are closely connected. If Dirk plays there’s a really, really good chance that Chris will play as well. If he doesn’t I don’t think Chris will play. So these two decisions are closely related.
With Dirk at this point in time it’s difficult to say. I haven’t talked to him. I know how he is. He wants to be left alone after the early exit from the playoffs. He wants to lick his wounds and get his mind right. And then make a decision.
I think that it’s still 50-50. It all depends on where he’s going to play next year too. But I think it is really important for him to play. It’s important for him to play obviously because FIBA gave us a wild card. We desperately want to come to Turkey with the best German national team possible.
That’s one, two: it’s always great for German basketball if he plays because it draws more interest. And that’s much needed.
And thirdly, and to me as a coach it’s the most important single factor, is that 2012 is a huge goal for every one of us. We were in Beijing and that was great. And to go to London would be just a dream come true. But in order to do that we have to qualify in 2011. With all the young talent and new players that we brought in, I think it is almost crucial that they play with him for one whole summer before we go into a big tournament like EuroBasket 2011. Because these kids have never played with him, never. To them, he’s somewhere between a god and a hero and a role model – a little bit of everything. And if they have two weeks with him to prepare for Lithuania I just don’t think that’s enough. The guys who played with him every summer struggled to adjust to playing with him after two weeks of camps or friendly games. And it’s going to be a lot more difficult for our young guys to adjust and get used to playing with their hero.
So, especially in light of that situation, if we want to qualify for London 2012 and play well in 2011 in Lithuania, he has to play this summer. Otherwise it’s going to be really difficult.
heinnews: Last thing I would like to address is rumblings this week with you being connected to Bayern Munich. Perhaps you can fill in the details with the latest between you and Bayern.
Bauermann: Honestly I think that we’re far from having a final decision. I have talked to them three or four times. And they’re really interested in a project like this. But they haven’t come to an agreement with the city about the gym. They still haven’t come to an agreement with the federation about my situation because I will most definitely continue to coach the national team. I’m not going to give that up. Not even for as interesting a project as this one.
A couple of big problems have to be solved. And then maybe in a week or 10 days or two weeks, things will get a little more concrete. But at this point in time it’s just a lot of rumors and a lot of heresay. There is some substance to that, no question. But we’re a ways away from any final decision.”
heinnews: You mention a project. What exactly is being planned?
Bauermann: They will be playing ProA next season for sure. That they’ve already decided – but with a budget that is closer to a first division than a second division team.
So that decision they have already made. They want to build something up from the ground. They have always been kind of mediocre when it comes to basketball – third division, second division. And basically they said either we are going to do this right, and you know what that means for Bayern Munich. Or we’re just going to play fourth or fifth division and make it completely an amateur thing.
But spending some money on it without having any kind of success makes no sense. If they’re going to do it, then do it the right way and the Bayern Munich way. What that means we both know.
So if they do it I think potentially it could turn into something really big.
heinnews: What would it mean for you to coach at Bayern Munich?
Bauermann: Let’s wait and see what happens. I’m still skeptical about it all and if they’ll pull it off.
heinnews: How did the contact come about?
Bauermann: The head of the basketball department contacted me and their idea was just needing my advice about some things and recommendations and would like to use some of your experience. And then it went from there.