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HomeSportsLuka Doncic plans to play for Slovenia in Olympic qualifying

Luka Doncic plans to play for Slovenia in Olympic qualifying

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic celebrates the team’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Minneapolis. The Mavericks won 124-103, taking the series 4-1 and advancing to the NBA Finals. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

BOSTON – Luka Doncic plans to play in the Paris Olympics next month, as long as his knees allow him to play more games and help Slovenia qualify shortly after a season in which he and the Dallas Mavericks reached the NBA Finals.

Slovenia on Wednesday released a list of 16 players, including Doncic, who are candidates to be part of the team that will play in an Olympic qualifying tournament in Greece starting July 2. If Slovenia wins that tournament: Greece, Dominican Republic, New Zealand and Croatia. and Egypt are also in the field: they will be among the 12 men’s teams at the Paris Games that begin at the end of July.

“If everything goes well, I’m going to go play,” Doncic said Wednesday at NBA Finals media day in Boston, saying the knee problem he’s been dealing with in the playoffs would be the only foreseeable obstacle.

READ: History as Doncic leads Slovenia to its first Olympic basketball berth

Doncic has represented Slovenia on several international stages, including the Tokyo Olympics, which were moved to 2021 due to the pandemic. He has played in EuroBasket twice and also played for Slovenia in last year’s World Cup; that tournament ended just weeks before the Mavericks opened training camp for this season.

The league’s reigning scoring champion was told Wednesday that, depending on the length of the NBA Finals, he would play between 90 and 95 games this season. Doncic believes the number is even higher.

“More games,” Doncic said. “You forgot about the World Cup before the season.”

READ: Doncic-Irving duo in great shape as Mavericks play in NBA Finals

If the series between Dallas and Boston Celtics goes the full seven games, Doncic would still be playing on June 23. Slovenia has a tournament warm-up exhibition in Greece against Brazil on June 28, so it’s possible Doncic will go from club to country play in the same week.

Doncic scored 48 points in his Olympic debut game in 2021, tied for the second most in any men’s Olympic game and finishing seven shy of tying the record of 55 set by Brazilian Oscar Schmidt in 1988.

There are already eight teams with spots in the 12-team men’s Olympic field. France qualified as the host nation, and seven other teams (four-time defending gold medalist United States, World Cup champion Germany, Canada, Japan, South Sudan, Serbia and Australia) qualified based on their results in last summer’s World Cup in the Philippines. .

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Slovenia is one of the 24 teams that will compete from July 2 to 7 for the other four spots. There are four qualifying tournaments, with six nations in each, and the winners of those four spots will make it to the Paris Olympics.



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