The last four places of the Tokyo Olympic Games men’s basketball tournament will be decided next summer, FIBA said Thursday.
However, it was not clear if tickets will be decided as the NBA season continues or if players from that league will be able to join the teams in the playoffs.
FIBA, the governing body of basketball, postponed the four qualifying tournaments that were pending. Now, it has determined that they take place from June 29 to July 4, 2021, to end 19 days before the start of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.RELATED
There were no changes in the nations that will host the knockout tournaments: Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia.
If the 2020-21 NBA season starts later than usual, which could occur due to the coronavirus pandemic, this will imply that some players such as Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Serbian Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets from Denver, they would be busy playing postseason duels at the time of the qualifying contests.
Under normal circumstances, NBA free agency would also conflict.
Normally the NBA does not stop during the international qualifying for the World Cup or the Olympic Games. Also, the league has never had to play the final beyond June 25, but if it’s postponed to the next season, that could be a possibility.
“Representing your country is one of the great honors in sport,” said President and CEO of the Basketball Federation of Canada Glen Grunwald. “I know that our players will see the challenge ahead of them next summer as an opportunity to recognize the daily sacrifices of all the workers who are up front and who keep the country safe operating during a pandemic.”
Eight of the 12 men’s teams that will participate in the Games are already qualified: Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, the world champion Spain, Australia and the United States, which has won the last three Olympic gold medals. Japan was automatically classified as a host; the other seven got their place with the results in the World Cup the previous summer.
In addition to the four host countries for the knockout rounds, another 20 teams will fight for the last four tickets: Slovenia, Angola, Senegal, Mexico, Uruguay, China, South Korea, Greece, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand and Tunisia.
There are six teams per qualifying tournament, divided into two groups of three teams. The teams in the same group will meet once to determine the two semifinalists.