Marc Gasol to Represent the Toronto Raptors at the FIBA World Cup
The madness of Kawhi Leonard may linger on for a while.
Prior to the USA vs. Spain exhibition, Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol was asked on Leonard decision to leave the NBA champions for the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency.
“You can’t blame the guy for wanting to go home,” Gasol said. “If you tell me I can go (to) Barcelona and make an absurd amount of money and play in the NBA … I understand completely and respect it and wish him the best.”
After Kyle Lowry and Chris Boucher were both forced to bow out of international competition due to injury and personal matters, Gasol has became the lone Raptors representative at the FIBA World Cup set to begin in September. Oshae Brissett, a rookie out of Syracuse, who the Raptors extended a training camp invite to will also have an opportunity to play at the international event next month if he is to crack the depleted Canadian roster.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is expected to lead the Canadians in Group H action.
So at this point, it appears as though Gasol is the only lock. Along with his older brother Pau, the spaniard has become a staple of the Spanish national program.
The 34-year NBA champion will lead a younger Spanish team, one that will be without the usual names that we have come to know on the international stage. Pau is currently recovering from offseason surgery and former Raptor Jose Calderon’s time with the team have come to an end.
Nevertheless, Gasol will still be joined at the World Cup by the likes of Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez, as well as Juan and Willy Hernangomez.
The number two ranked team in FIBA will be a formidable one and expect Gasol to be a key contributor on their world cup run.