Chinese basketball's governing body, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), has denied reports of discord between the head coach Panagiotis Giannakis and the national team players on Wednesday.
Rumors had it that the national team players didn't get along with the Greek coach who is known for his iron rules. So in order to pursue better communication with the head coach, the team requisitioned Guo Weisheng, interpreter for the Shanghai Sharks, to replace Shan Zhenghao as the national team's interpreter. Shan held two posts in the national team as both interpreter and the video record analyzer.
"The story, which said the players had a disharmonious relationship with the coach, comes from nowhere," the CBA responded in a statement on its official website on Wednesday.
"Now we are in a crucial period preparing for the 2013 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Asia Championship for Men. Such personnel changes are regular, because full-time video analyzers have an intense workload. We have to employ another interpreter to decrease his burden and increase efficiency."
"We offer sincere thanks for the support from the fans and media, but we hope some media could do more objective reports instead of spreading such rumors, and provide a better public environment for the national team."
He Dongxiang, a basketball fan for years, told the Global Times on Wednesday, "Players shouldn't be at odds with the head coach, even if he crosses the line sometimes; players should listen to the head coach without any complaints."
Giannakis, who started as the head coach of the Chinese national team in April, is the former head coach of the Greek national team. Under his guidance, the Greeks won the gold medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 2005 in Serbia, and the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
The 2013 FIBA Asia Championship for Men is the intercontinental championship for basketball organized by FIBA Asia that serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The tournament will be held from August 1 to 11 in Manila, the Philippines.
The Chinese national basketball team has five warm-up games in eight days from Friday to July 26 in China before they go to the tournament.