MADRID (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Expect a fully-loaded Spain to show up for the country's FIBA EuroBasket title defense this summer with coach Sergio Scariolo revealing that all of the NBA players are available.
"(Nikola) Mirotic and (Serge) Ibaka have confirmed their availability," Scariolo said to Onda Cero radio. "Obviously there is a different status and situation, but all of the players have confirmed to me their availability, although with certain provisos. Each has his own circumstances and own situation, but the availability of all is very good."
Scariolo will only be allowed to call up Mirotic or Ibaka, but not both, since each can only compete for the country as a naturalized Spaniard. Ibaka played at FIBA EuroBasket 2011, the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup while Mirotic represented the country at FIBA EuroBasket 2015 and at last year's Olympics.
The single most important player of all, Pau Gasol, appears set to play once again. Gasol, the Most Valuable Player of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2006 and MVP when the FIBA EuroBaskets were staged in Poland (2009) and France (2015), has also told Scariolo of his desire to be with the team.Spain will play in the Group Phase in Cluj-Napoca against Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania, with the tournament tipping off 31 August.
Marc Gasol, Pau's younger brother, is set to play after a two-year absence. Marc Gasol chose to sit out FIBA EuroBasket 2015 while an injury prevented him from playing last summer in Brazil.
"We’ll begin training on 28 July and we’ll have to change our way of playing with respect to the last two years when Marc hasn’t been here," Scariolo said. "We’ll have to incorporate him. It’s an important readjustment and there are many things that we’re working on."
With the exception of FIBA EuroBasket 2005, which Pau Gasol missed due to an injury, Spain have made it to the podium of Europe's flagship event every time since 1999 when they finished runners-up to Italy.