Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins will not be on the national team for Canada during the upcoming FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
Jay Triano, who was the interim head coach for the Phoenix Suns and is now an assistant for the Charlotte Hornets, is the head coach for the Canadian national team. Triano has been an assistant in the NBA since his first gig with the Toronto Raptors in 2002.
While his team this summer might be the most talented in the country’s history, the absence of Wiggins is notable. Josh Lewenberg reports that the 23-year-old has a strained relationship with Triano (via TSN.ca):
“According to multiple sources, one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s most recent invitation is his strained relationship with head coach Jay Triano, stemming from his previous and only experience playing with the senior men’s team in 2015.”
Wiggins played alongside Jay’s son Dustin when they were both children. Last year, Triano told the Star Tribune that he’s “always been a fan” of the talented player. But when asked about the Ontario inter-providence league, Wiggins did not recall the games that Triana was referencing.
The wing did not play for Canada during the 2016 Olympic qualifiers, either. After coming up short in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas’ Tournament in 2015, Wiggins described the loss as the “worst” of his career.
Nik Stauskas, a sharpshooter and former lottery pick who represented the country in 2015, will also not be on the roster this summer. Lewenberg added that he was “unhappy with his usage” for the squad in 2015.
Canada will be led by NBA players such as Jamal Murray, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, Dillon Brooks and Dwight Powell.
DunkWire, Andrew Wiggins, Cory Joseph, Dillon Brooks, Dwight Powell, Jamal Murray, Jay Triano, Kelly Olynyk, Nik Stauskas, Tristan Thompson, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors