Canada has its fingers crossed that Jamal Murray will opt to play for them in the Olympics should they qualify through the help of the current 2023 World Cup festivities.
In a recent interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Canadian Basketball Executive Advisor Glen Grunwald expressed his optimism that the Denver Nuggets star will be able to suit up for them next year in Paris after not electing to play this FIBA World Championships.
“Jamal came in the training camp, we started the training camp on August first to Toronto. The Raptors were kind enough to allow us to use their facility, and Jamal was there. After going through those practices, a mutual decision was made that now is not probably the best time for Jamal to participate because of his long season and probably longer season coming up again next year in the (Denver Nuggets) just like (Nikola) Jokic,” he said. “He’s not playing for Serbia, either. So it’s similar situation.
“But we’re hopeful that we’ll qualify for the Olympics, and hopeful that Jamal will play. I know he’s interested, I know it was a very difficult decision to sit out this World Cup. But we have to look to the long-term health of him, and it’s also another opportunity for our players to step up and kind of have a bigger role on the other way that they might’ve had.”
Murray participated in Team Canada’s training camp in preparation for the World Cup and was even listed on its preliminary list of participating players. But given his lengthy, intensive 2022-23 title campaign with Denver which saw him taking plenty of rest also during the regular season because of his healed ACL, the talented guard went on to declare his ineligibility for the national squad.
The last time Murray played for Canada was in 2015 when he supported his nation to a silver finish in the Pan-American Games. As such, he is yet to be available again in the country’s senior hoops program for a grand international event.
So far, the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander-led Canada is in a comfortable position to earn an Olympic ticket to Paris as they are already moving on to the second round of the World Cup’s Group Phase after a 2-0 record within Group H in Jakarta.
This year’s World Cup serves as a direct passage to Olympic qualification. In the American region, two teams to tally the best record will be admitted.
The Road Warriors appeared in nine total Olympic events throughout their program history with 1936 in Berlin handing them a silver medal feat.
Their last Olympic qualification was 23 years ago in Sydney wherein national star Steve Nash helped them to a seventh-placed stand.