New York Knicks 7-footer Kristaps Porzingis said Monday he will not play for Latvia in either Olympic qualifying or, if it qualifies for Rio without him, the Olympics in August.
He held a press conference in Riga.
Porzingis averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game after being the fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft on June 25.
He did not play for Latvia at EuroBasket in September, one month before the start of his maiden NBA season. He previously played for Latvia’s youth national team.
Latvia finished eighth at EuroBasket without Porzingis, initially being eliminated from Olympic qualifying. But a FIBA format change allowed Latvia back into a last-chance qualifier this July.
Without Porzingis, Latvia will travel to Serbia for a six-team, winner-goes-to-Rio tournament. Serbia, the reigning World silver medalist, will be heavily favored.
Latvia appeared in the first Olympic men’s basketball tournament in 1936 and none since.