Marcin Gortat of the Phoenix Suns was having trouble originally trying to play with the Polish national team, but it looked like in recent weeks things might work out for the best. Unfortunately, Gortat ended up back where he started, and he won't be playing in EuroBasket 2011. Michael Schwartz at Valley of the Suns has more.
"Marcin will not play in Eurobasket 2011," Zucker wrote in an email. "The Polish Federation made the decision almost two weeks ago. Obviously, we expected there to be a suitable policy to cover Marcin, but it turned out that there wasn’t. He was disappointed, naturally, but it was out of his hands."
Gortat has three years and $21.8 million remaining on his contract with the Suns and was looking to get at least the first two years of his deal insured, yet he could only find insurance that would cover short-term injuries or career-ending ones.
It's too bad for Poland. With Gortat, the Polish team might have had a decent chance to play spoiler and upset some of the big names in the tournament. Without him, their Group A matchups with Spain and Turkey look like sure death sentences, and they'll have to struggle hard to beat Great Britain and Portugal as well. It's too bad Gortat won't get a chance to bang against the Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka; he'll need all the work he can get refining his post schools during this likely interminable break from NBA basketball.
And yes, the NBA lockout can be blamed for many many things. Just don't try to pin that as the reason Gortat will be absent this offseason.
Back in July Ceglinski asked Gortat he would have played for Poland this year had there been no lockout and insurance was easier to come by and the Suns’ center said he would have missed it anyway to return to Phoenix to practice with his teammates in advance of the NBA season.
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