(photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole [file])
Despite claiming all last season that he needed a break from basketball, it appears outgoing Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Gershon could be persuaded to change his mind for the right price.
Gershon, who led Maccabi to back-to-back Euroleague titles followed by an appearance in last season's championship game, reportedly met with Olympiacos Piraeus officials for three hours over the weekend and could agree to terms with the club as soon as Sunday.
According to the Greek daily Ethnos, the main issue separating the sides is money, with Olympiacos offering 800,000 euros, while Gershon is demanding 1 million - the same salary that rival Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic earns.
The main reason that the reds, who were eliminated by Maccabi 2-1 in this year's best-of-three Euroleague quarterfinals, could be willing to fork out so much for Gershon is the fact that this season's Euroleague Final Four will take place in Athens and Olympiacos is desperate to crash the party.
The team is apparently willing to spend record sums to build a Final-Four caliber side and to give Gershon full control of reshaping the squad as he sees fit.
Olympiacos is seeking a replacement for Lithuanian coach Jonas Kazlauskas, who left his post last week to focus on his other job as head coach of the Chinese national team ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Gershon, a three-time European champion coach, has reached the championship game in each of the last five seasons that he's been at Maccabi. If he joins Olympiacos, this would be his first position outside of Israel.