It was just announced that Dirk Nowitzki will not participate in this year’s Eurobasket tournament.
The loss of the 7-0 NBA all-star forward severely hampers Germany’s chances in obtaining a spot in the 2010 World Championships.
The owner of Nowitzki’s NBA team, Mark Cuban, would not allow Nowitzki to take part in the championship, said the German basketball federation.
German Federation president Ingo Weiss showed understanding, as Nowitzki has played for team Germany in the last several international tournaments.
“Over the past 10 years, we’ve had an excellent and reliable partnership with Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, who always made it possible for Dirk to play for the national team…” said Weiss. “We accept this decision completely.”
From a team standpoint, Nowitzki may be the most important player to miss, but this year’s Eurobasket will be missing several other key players because of injury, overextension or retirement.
Some of the big names include Andrei Kirilenko, José Calderón, Igor Rakočević, Theodoros Papaloukas, Luol Deng, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, and more.
- Greece: Hellas will be without their superstar starting backcourt of Dimitris Diamantidis and Theo Papaloukas. Diamantidis, the 29-year old defensive standout, will miss out because of an injury, and the 32-year old Papaloukas is taking time off because he needs rest.
- Spain: Pau Gasol will play for Spain despite an injured index finger that will keep him out of action right up to the tournament. However Spain will be missing two key players in the backcourt because of injuries – José Calderón and Berni Rodriguez.
- Russia: Andrei Kirilenko recently confirmed that he won’t be in Poland for the defending Eurobasket champions Russia. Kirilenko wants to take the summer off to rest. Team Russia will also look to defend their title without naturalized point guard, and national team mainstay, J.R. Holden.
- Lithuania: Team Green will be missing Ramūnas Šiškauskas, who retired from the national team after last year’s appearance at the Olympics. Lietuvus will also not have the services of their veteran backcourt Rimantas Kaukėnas and Šarūnas Jasikevičius.
- Serbia: Serbia was hopeful that Euroleague leading scorer and former NBA player Igor Rakočević would suit up, but an injury would keep the 30-year old shooting guard out until very late. Team Serbia thought it best to move forward without Rakočević.
- Great Britain: Luol Deng recently announced that his leg injury, suffered in the beginning of the last NBA season, will keep him out representing Great Britain in this year’s Eurobasket.
- Latvia: Latvia is awaiting test results on guard Armands Šķēle after he took a blow to the head during training on Tuesday. The 25-year-old was given painkillers after an initial series of tests found no serious problems (from FIBA.com). Latvia will have the interior presence of their 23-year old star Andris Biedriņš.
- France: Though not yet in the tournament, France is still trying to qualifying through the AQR (Additional Qualifying Round) and if they do, they should have their star point guard Tony Parker. Two weeks ago, Parker was called back to the United States by the Spurs after suffering a sprained right ankle in a Eurobasket qualification game against Austria.
Even without the likes of Nowitzki and Kirilenko, there is still plenty of star power in this year’ s Eurobasket with the Gasol brothers, Hedo Türkoğlu, Ricky Rubio, Andris Biedrins, Rudy Fernández, Linas Kleiza, Marko Tomas, and many others.
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