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Fotis Katsikaris

MOSCOW (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Fotis Katsikaris is among the candidates to replace David Blatt as the coach of Russia's national team.

Russian Basketball Federation (RSE) Secretary General Natalia Galkina has confirmed in an interview with Sport Express that Katsikaris is among the coaches being considered for the post.

A final decision will be made on the 24th of December, when the RSE’s executive committee meets.

"Negotiations with Katsikaris are truly underway and are now in full swing," Galkina said.

"Fotis is classy and has a professional perspective, the ability to achieve very good results even with not the most stellar selection of players.

"Overall, we are very interested in this nomination.

"However, it is not the only one.

"In any case, the final decision on the head coach of the Russian national team will be taken by the RSE executive committee on 24 December.”

One potential stumbling block to the appointment is that the Spanish league doesn’t allow its head coaches to lead national sides.

Katsikaris would either have to leave his job as Bilbao coach, or receive permission from the league.

Croatia’s coach this past summer, Jasmin Repesa, is now the coach of Unicaja Malaga and it’s unclear if he will return to the helm of that national team at next year’s EuroBasket.

Russian basketball is very familiar with Katsikaris, who is Greek.

Several years ago, he replaced Blatt as the coach of Dynamo St Petersburg in Russia after the American-born Israeli departed to lead Benetton Treviso.

Blatt, coincidentally, then replaced Katsikaris as Aris coach in 2010 when he left to coach Bilbao Basket in Spain.

Katsikaris has been fantastic at Bilbao.

He steered the team to a runners-up finish in the 2010-2011 Liga Endesa play-offs, which qualified the club for the Euroleague.

In the 2011-12 Euroleague, Katsikaris raised Russian eyebrows by making it to the quarter-finals and losing a hard-fought series to CSKA Moscow, 3-1.

Under Blatt, Russia won the EuroBasket 2007 gold medal and then bronze at EuroBasket 2011 and this past summer's Olympics.

He decided recently that he would not continue in the job and is instead focusing on his position as the coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Russia will take on Turkey, Sweden, Finland, Greece and Italy in Group D of the EuroBasket in Slovenia.

The event will serve as a qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.