SportsLaso confirms the "definitive" expulsion of Heurtel and Thompkins from Madrid for...

Laso confirms the “definitive” expulsion of Heurtel and Thompkins from Madrid for “technical reasons”



The black cloud that has hung over Laso’s Real Madrid since the end of January has led to a storm of unknown dimensions in the section for more than a decade, when the coach from Vitoria arrived at the club to close a convulsive stage and open an era successful. Immersed in a crisis of identity, game and results, the white team has accumulated 15 defeats in the last 26 games (four of them with a score of less than 60 points, six in total below 70) and this Friday against Bayern , at the close of the regular season of the Euroleague, signed an inexplicable game nonsense. The German team overcame a 20-point deficit, with a 13-38 run in the fourth quarter, and portrayed an unrecognizable group from head to toe. Added to all this is Laso’s drastic decision to separate Thomas Heurtel and Trey Thompkins from the team’s discipline in a “definitive” way, to safeguard the locker room ecosystem and try to rearm.

Heurtel and Thompkins no longer count for Laso. The 32-year-old French base, who arrived in Madrid last summer after a turbulent divorce with Barça, had signed for this season and one more optional one. The 31-year-old American power forward, at the club since 2015 and a key player in winning the 2018 Euroleague, ended his commitment in June after a journey marked by ups and downs in his fitness. Neither of them will wear white again, according to Laso at the press conference prior to the Clásico at the Palau this Sunday. “It is a technical decision. A decision of mine. I fully trust the other players on the team. There is no greater history with them [Heurtel y Thompkins]. I have enough to get the rest to play at their highest level. What worries me is that we play as a team and be the team we want to be. The team is always above the people”, said the Madrid coach, without specifying the details of the indiscipline and dissolute life of the players that have led him to make a decisive decision in the first person that has the absolute backing of the club. “We have problems as a team and we have to try to correct them,” said Laso, who said he had not talked about signings to compensate for these absences.

To date, Heurtel had played 27 Euroleague games and 25 ACB games with Madrid, averaging 9 points and 4.6 assists in the continental competition and 8.6 and 4.4 in the League (about 19 minutes per game in both tournaments). Thompkins, for his part, rejoined the group in January after eight months out after undergoing arthroscopy on his left knee. So far this season, the American has participated in three games in the ACB and 13 in the Euroleague, to add to an accounting of 325 games in the seven seasons he has been at Madrid.

Is this the most difficult moment you have had to face since your arrival? Laso was asked in view of the sum of problems. “Do not. If this were counted on wins and losses alone, it’s clearly not a comfortable time for a manager. But I have had many difficult moments and this is not my worst moment in Madrid. We have to face it”, continued Laso before delving into the ideas to straighten the course of his team. “The most important thing is to return to being a team”, insisted the Madrid coach, with a view to the future and at the same time as an analysis of the drift of these months. “We all need each other. That when someone fails he knows that he has the team behind him to support him. That’s what will give us confidence”, he stressed before going on to tell tactical details in the point guard position, after Heurtel’s expulsion and with Alocén injured. “Llull, Williams-Goss and Núñez can play that role perfectly. I think I have the position well covered and I am calm, knowing that Abalde, Hanga and even Rudy can play point guard”, explained Laso, before lowering the tension with an optimistic look.

“If on April 9 they told me that the team would be champion of the Super Cup, I would fight for the Cup until the last plays, and I would face the play off from the Euroleague with home court advantage… I would have signed it anyway. My confidence in the team comes from valuing this. It annoys me to lose, but it doesn’t have to make me lose my optimism”, concluded the Madrid coach.

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