Rudy Gobert leads France Olympic men’s basketball roster with 5 NBA players
Rudy Gobert was one of five NBA players named to France’s Olympic men’s basketball roster on Thursday.
Gobert, the Utah Jazz center, is joined by fellow NBAers Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Frank Ntilikina.
The Jazz have the NBA’s best record and could go deep into the playoffs, which could complicate Gobert’s Olympic plans.
A potential NBA Finals Game 7 will be on July 22. The first men’s basketball games in Tokyo are on July 25, including France vs. the U.S.
“Obviously, if we go to the NBA Finals, and we go to a Game 7, I might miss the Opening Ceremony, but hopefully we can figure it out,” Gobert said in December. “The vacation will probably be after the Olympics.”
There has been concern, especially for the U.S. team, that top NBA players may pass on the Olympics given the late NBA season’s end. France’s roster includes its top three NBA players in minutes per game -- Gobert, Fournier and Batum.
Notably absent: Theo Maledon, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s starting point guard. It’s possible players named to the team Thursday could withdraw later during the NBA playoffs. Four alternates were also named.
At the 2019 FIBA World Cup, France beat a U.S. team lacking NBA superstars in the quarterfinals en route to a second straight bronze medal.
France lost to Spain in the last two Olympic quarterfinals, sending Tony Parker into retirement without an Olympic medal.
France is the first nation to name its Olympic men’s basketball roster.
France Olympic men’s basketball roster
Nicolas Batum (Los Angeles Clippers)
Nando De Colo
Evan Fournier (Boston Celtics)
Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot (Brooklyn Nets)
Frank Ntilikina (New York Knicks)
Coach: Vincent Collet
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