World Cup Rumors
The devastation wreaked by Hurricane Maria will force Puerto Rico to move its World Cup basketball qualifying game next month against the United States, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. Talks between the Puerto Rican national basketball federation and U.S.A. Basketball to move the game to Orlando, Fla., were continuing as of Monday afternoon.
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This is the first time that a person directly connected to FIBA, the president of a national federation speaks against the World Cup qualification windows. Sabonis’ comments come from the fact that NBA players are not going to join their national teams and the same is expected to happen with EuroLeague players: “People who understand basketball should be disappointed. Fans come to the arena to watch the best players. We are not Spain, where you may not have ten players, but there are also other ten who are really good and will create interest. We don’t have that. The loss of any player is a knife wound”.
Speaking to French portal BeBasket, Vucevic who may not have the chance to play for his national team any time soon, he explained why he things the new calendar will not work, “It’s complicated and it makes no sense”, said the Orlando Magic center. “It does not make sense if you do not close an agreement with the NBA and the Euroleague so that their players can compete. And then for us, Montenegro for example, what does it mean? That a player is going to qualify for the FIBA World Cup and I am coming back and I take his place for the tournament? It is not fair.”
Vucevic: “That’s the worst part of it. Those players are going to give their best in order to qualify and then they will have to be give their place to players who come from the NBA or the Euroleague. It’s unfair and it does not really make sense. You are going to have two different teams. And even for the fans. You organize games where the best players of each country will not be there. I understand that they wanted to do it like football, but in this case it was necessary to agree with everyone. If it’s not possible for everyone to be there, then we have to keep the system we had before, I think it worked well. I do not see where the problem of playing during summer is, it always worked”.