Olympiacos gets bigger with Tsakalidis

Sep 02, 2007 by Stelios Kyriakoglou, Athens Print
Jake TsakalidisOlympiacos made one of the summer's surprise moves by signing center Jake Tsakalidis for one season. Tsakalidis (218, 28), who is the twelfth signing Olympiacos has made this summer, joins an already packed frontcourt that features Sofoklis Schortsianitis, Lawrence Roberts, Giannis Bouroussis, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, Ian Vouyoukas and Giorgos Printezis. Tsakalidis returns to Greece after spending seven years in the NBA playing for the Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets, with a career average of 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game. Last season he posted 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 36 games between Memphis and Houston. The move to Olympiacos sees him reunite with Roberts, who spent a season-and-a-half time alongside him at Memphis.

The Georgian-born Tsakalidis began his sports career as a swimmer and was of Olympic caliber until he switched over to basketball when he moved to Greece to join AEK Athens at the age of 16. Tsakalidis played four seasons for AEK, helping the team win the Saporta Cup and Greek Cup, both in 2000, while becoming a regular on the Greek National team from 1998 till 2003, taking part twice in the European Championships. In his last season with AEK, Tsakalidis averaged 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 30 games.