By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The Slovenian basketball federation president, Matej Erjavec via a video conference with the local press Monday explained how Luka Doncic really wanted to help his national team in the upcoming games of the EuroBasket qualifiers but was not allowed.
Doncic, 21, was keen on playing for Slovenia in the games versus Ukraine and Hungary scheduled to be held in Ljubliana on November 28 and 30, respectively. He even discussed his strong desire with Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, However, the lack of agreement between FIBA and NBA ultimately stopped him.
“After Luka Doncic made himself available, we made every effort for him to indeed join the national team,” noted Erjavec, “Unfortunately, we encountered a problem from FIBA and the NBA. We had to accept the situation, but Doncic did not. He personally got involved, attempting to get permission from his team, but FIBA and the NBA did not budge.”
France national team head coach Vincent Collet revealed about one month ago that the NBA had refused to release players for them to compete in the FIBA international window. This is the exact case for Doncic and Slovenia as well.
“The NBA is more or less only concerned with its own affairs,” added Erjavec furthering into the players available for the upcoming games, “The only good part is that the NBA is ready to adjust its calendar to better fit players wanting to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments and the Tokyo games.”
Slovenia, 1-1 in Group F, hopes to boost its EuroBasket qualifying bid in the home bubble including its next two games without the NBA superstar. Doncic himself will instead focus on the training camp scheduled to start on December 1, three weeks prior to the launch of the 2020-21 NBA Regular Season.
Prior to establishing himself in the NBA, an 18-year-old rising star in Doncic after opting to represent Slovenia in international competitions helped his country win its first EuroBasket gold medal in 2017, an achievement similar to no other in the history of the national team. He was named to the All-Tournament Team.
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