Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has suggested that he will not participate at EuroBasket 2015 after revealing that he doesn’t see the French team as a priority.
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The European Championships will be played between September 5-20, but French technical director Patrick Beesley has had to ask Noah on his availability now with an answer required before the end of the month.
Beesley has made it clear to the 30-year-old that if he skips the EuroBasket, then he will not be selected for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
From Noah’s perspective, it is understandable as to why he would want to skip the tournament given that he underwent knee surgery last summer and is battling through a gruelling season with the Bulls this year with more required of him now that both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are sidelined for a significant period.
However, he has risked irritating the French national team by stating that “the French team is a great experience, but it has never been my priority”, according to ESPN.
Noah has only ever appeared in one major tournament for the French which was at the 2011 EuroBasket, and given his comments it is unlikely that he will be adding to his appearances any time soon.
Nevertheless, even though he is expected to sit out later this summer, several NBA stars will be featuring as many will see it as the perfect opportunity to cement their place in their respective teams ahead of the Olympics.
Noah is contracted to the Bulls through to the end of next season, and ultimately his focus for now is helping his team win an NBA championship rather than represent his country.