NBA duo Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka have reportedly both shown a strong interest in representing Spain in this summer’s Eurobasket, according to the Spanish media.
Spain will definitely be without guards Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks’ Jose Calderon as well as center Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, so the news regarding Pau and Ibaka comes as a very welcome one for coach Sergio Scariolo.
It isn’t confirmed by any means, but Gasol’s summer plans are likely to be revealed on Wednesday in Madrid.
Ibaka’s summer details have been far more vocal, as the Oklahoma City Thunder forward continues his run to fitness following a continuous knee problem.
The big man knows though that that his plans with the national team are completely down to the Thunder.
“If I’m 100 percent, I would like to play at the Eurobasket,” Ibaka said. “If I’m not, I don’t think the Thunder would let me play.”
Ibaka’s case though will not be helped with the emergence of Pau’s team-mate with the Chicago Bulls, Nikola Mirotic, who has also expressed a desire to play for Spain this summer.
The Montenegrin-born forward has enjoyed an impressive first season in the NBA after spending seven years with Real Madrid. Mirotic has averaged 10.2 points a game, shooting just over 40 percent from the field.
With Ibaka only able to play in 64 games with the Thunder this year, the odds certainly are stacked in favour of Mirotic.
Only one nationalized player is allowed on the Spanish roster, as per international rules and both Mirotic and Congo-born Ibaka fall into that category.
Spain will play their Group B games in Berlin, against Turkey, Serbia, Italy, newcomers Iceland as well as the hosts Germany themselves.