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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Both United States basketball teams have Tuesday off after two blowout victories apiece, but there’s still plenty of action to take in at the basketball venue. Among the teams playing Tuesday is defending Olympic silver medalist Spain, with Pau Gasol and company playing hosts Brazil in the group match for both. Both teams are 0-1, with Dario Saric’s blocked shot preserving Serbia’s win over Spain and Brazil losing to Lithuania after erasing a 28-point halftime deficit.
Both are in Group B, where there are two goals: get through to bracket play, and set yourself up to not have to deal with the Americans until the gold medal game thus guaranteeing your team a medal. All six Group B teams are in action, and the final game of the day between Argentina and Croatia stands to be highly entertaining.
WATCH LIVE: Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Day Four — 11:15 a.m. Eastern
There are also three women’s basketball games, all from Group A. Hosts Brazil will play Belarus, with both teams coming off losses in their opening games. The first women’s game of the day stands to be the most intriguing, with medal hopefuls Australia and France both looking to move to 2-0 in group play. The women of Group A are in a similar position to the six teams in Group B of the men’s competition, with the heavily favored Americans in Group B.
Get through to bracket play while also setting your team up to not have to deal with Geno Auriemma’s team until the gold medal game.
One day after the United States men’s basketball team opened its Olympic account with a 57-point thrashing of China, the women’s begin group play against Senegal.
WATCH LIVE: United States vs. Senegal in women’s basketball opener
Appearing in only their second Olympic Games, Senegal’s women’s basketball team opens their Rio tournament against the five-time defending Olympic champion U.S. women led by Diana Taurasi. The Americans have won gold in each of the last five Summer Olympics, and they’re the prohibitive favorites to win gold in Rio.
WATCH LIVE: Basketball, Day 2
That’s the first of seven games scheduled for Sunday, with hosts Brazil taking on Lithuania in an important matchup in Group B of the men’s competition. Both teams boast players with NBA connections, including Brazil forward Nene and Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas. 2012 men’s basketball silver medalists Spain open against Croatia, and Argentina’s team led by Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola will be in action as well.