Pau Gasol will miss September’s FIBA World Cup after left foot surgery, but Spain’s head coach hopes to have the Milwaukee Bucks center at a fifth Olympics next year.
”We will try to do the best and get one of the spots for Tokyo 2020 so he can come with us to the Olympics,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said, according to an Olympic Channel translation of an AS report.
Gasol, 38 and already older than every previous Olympic basketball medalist, owns silver medals from 2008 and 2012 and a bronze from Rio. This will be Gasol’s first time missing a global championship since the 2010 World Championship, when he cited a need to rest from two major muscle injuries, and Spain struggled to a sixth-place finish without him.
He led the 2004 and 2008 tournaments in scoring. Gasol’s 623 career Olympic points rank third behind Brazilian Oscar Schmidt (1,008) and Australian Andrew Gaze (789), according to reports from the Rio Games. Gasol would likely have to play at least two more Olympics to pass Gaze.
It was unknown whether Gasol would continue with the national team after Rio, but in 2017 he played at EuroBasket and became that tournament’s career points leader, passing Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker.
Others from Spain’s golden generation have retired from the national team, including José Calderón and Juan Carlos Navarro. The active pool still includes NBA veterans Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio.
The top two European nations at the World Cup will qualify for Tokyo, but it’s not Spain’s only chance. Four more nations overall will qualify for the Games at a global tournament next year.
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