Dennis Schroder asked FIBA and NBA comissioner Adam Silver to try and work on a solution regarding the conflicting schedules of the 2021 Olympic Qualifiers and the NBA season so that players like him will be able to join their national teams that are looking to book a spot in Tokyo.
“It’s pretty tough,” Schroder said in a teleconference call presser by the Los Angeles Lakers. “Every year that I can play with the national team, I try play with the national team. Right now, it’s not looking good for the Qualifiers. I hope Adam Silver, FIBA try to make something happen. I hope [they] change something so that I can play.”
The Olympic Qualifiers, in which Schroder’s Germany will also participate, are planned to take place from June 29 to July 4. During that period, the new Lakers guard will in all probability be busy with the NBA playoffs that are to begin on May 22 and finish on July 22, according to the current tentative calendar.
So far there isn’t any scenario in which a player like Schroder would leave his club in the thick of the playoffs, travel to be with the national team to the country where the qualifying tournament is held (in Schroder’s case, Croatia) and then come back.
“Right now, it’s not looking so good. I’m pretty sad about it,” Schroder said. “I hope they still can arrange something where I can participate in the tournament.”
Schroder, Germany’s most prominent star and the country’s top player after Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement, is just one of the numerous NBA players that will most likely miss the Olympic Qualifiers. Some big names on the list include back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and his Denver Nuggets teammate Jamal Murray.
For many players like Schroder, representing their country, especially at the Olympic stage, is a pretty big deal. It means a lot. But now, they may not get a chance to even compete for the opportunity to be in the Olympics.
Recently, Schroder actually said that he would prefer an Olympic gold medal over an NBA championship, a sentiment that is also shared by Oklahoma City Thunder and French national team center Vincent Poirier.