Olympic Games Rumors
Spanish national team head coach Sergio Scariolo said that Pau Gasol will need to spend a certain amount of period playing competitive basketball to be fully ready to participate in the 2021 Olympic Games. “Obviously, being in Tokyo involves playing a few months of competition in a team,” Scariolo said in an interview with AS after the completion of the 2022 EuroBasket Qualifiers. Spain closed the February window with two wins vs. Poland and Israel to finish the stage with a qualifying record 4-2 in Group A.
Interviewed by ESPN, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills has confirmed he will participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, with a clear goal in his mind. “Oh, it’s crystal clear, mate. No hesitation at all. I think everyone is well aware of that, throughout the program, the team, obviously Goorjan, players as well… there’s no doubt about it. Not a single ounce of blood in my body says otherwise. I’m fully committed, and it obviously comes from a very genuine place and the goal that we have as a team… and we are very determined to accomplish it. We have an absolute chance to achieve that in Tokyo. Everyone who’s a part of that program right now, from the head coach all the way to the equipment manager, everyone’s gotta be locked in and feel the exact same way as we feel: determined, fire burning inside, desire to do everything we possibly can to win this gold medal”, Mills said.
More than 85 per cent of NBA players will be available for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualification tournaments, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) secretary general Andreas Zagklis has said. Speaking at an online roundtable interview on Wednesday, Zagklis said he also believed that top NBA players would have enough motivation to compete at the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games next year, reports Xinhua news agency. “It’s clear from the feedback we have received from our players around the world, including NBA players that they consider the Olympic Games as a highlight of their careers. So the motivation is there,” said Zagklis.
“As a coach, I don’t really like the fact that there are a couple of players like Marc and Serge who can reach the Finals because that would obviously complicate their selection for the Olympics,” Scariolo said to Radio Marca. “But I’m happy that each of them has a team and a role within their team that is promising to be interesting. Having them all joining teams very quickly is a reason for calm for all.” According to the 2020-21 NBA calendar, the playoffs begin on May 6 and will be finished on July 22. If the Lakers or the Clippers reach the Finals then Gasol and Ibaka won’t be able to make it to Tokyo.
“It’s not “bad – bad” news but the seventh game of the Finals – if there is a Game 7 – will be played one day before the opening of the Olympic Games,” Scariolo said. “So the timing is quite bad, that one of the two teams from Los Angeles, Marc or Serge reach the Finals. We are taking a lot of risk, but it’s just something I have in my mind”
Marc Gasol on Pau Gasol’s future: “Pau has to know first his foot is ok, and then decide. He wants to play in the Olympics and maybe keep playing after that, but the most important thing is his health.”
Slowing down might not be in his nature, but Luis Scola intends to retire after the 2020-21 season and participating in the Olympic Games with Argentina for the fifth time. He confirmed the approaching date in an interview with Italian magazine SportWeek released Saturday. “When will it end? In a year, after the Olympics. Only then I will decide what to do,” he mentioned referring to his playing days, “I could stay involved in basketball, but not as a coach, eventually, only for young players. I’m already receiving plenty of proposals, but none have been just as exciting as the idea of playing”.