German star talent Daniel Theis set the record straight about a much-publicized contract dispute this summer between his former team New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and current team ratiopharm ulm.
“I was really agitated because there was a completely wrong image of me in the public. Braunschweig said they gave me an offer and I signed a contract. Neither was ever the case. Still, they claimthat to give themselves a better image,” said Theis in an interview with the German language sports webportal spox.com.
Theis said his agent Ademola Okulaja had attempted at the beginning of last season to contact Braunschweig officials to discuss the emerging star’s future and a possible new contract. But Phantoms never wanted to talk about a new deal, said Theis, who also mentioned the option of getting sent elsewhere on loan to get more game practice.
“Instead, they blocked or ignored everything that dealt with my future,” said Theis.
Two days after the team lost in the playoffs, Theis had a lawyer hand the club a notice of termination, which Braunschweig rejected and argued as not effective, even though the German Basketball Federation DBB had allowed the player’s release.
Theis said general manager Oliver Braun tried to persuade the team’s fans that the club officials did everything right and that the player was still property of Braunschweig.
“Oliver Braun never sought contact with me. Instead he made me out to be an idiot in the public eye, as the spoiled and undisciplined young star who forced his departure and blackmailed the club. And it worked in getting the fans on his side,” said Theis.
“Braunschweig could always do that well. Present themselves well to the outside world but everyone internally knew what was going wrong.”
He also questioned why it was never reported that Braunschweig wanted to release him from his contract because he couldn’t play to the level and only caused headaches.
“And then I’m the bad guy because they always wanted to build the team around me and Dennis Schröder. Something is wrong there.”
Theis called his return to Braunschweig for the season-opener with Ulm as “gross” and said he was insulted by the fans after the game.
“An old man came to me and said: ‘Piss off! And never come back!’ And the worst thing was the kids watched the adults and did the same thing. They threw things at me. It was not easy, especially because I am from the region and played in Braunschweig since my youth,” recalled Theis.
The German U20 national team star said he and Schröder were both handled differently from other players on the Braunschweig team, especially the American players, who got away with things while Theis and Schröder received disciplinary suspensions for less trivial – and mostly unfair and incorrect – instances.