Pau Gasol is one of the few NBA players who might be just as closely associated with his national team as he is with playing for one of the league’s most iconic franchises.
Gasol has been playing for the Spanish team in international play essentially since the moment he was eligible, and along with tennis star Rafael Nadal, he may be his country’s most recognizable athlete.
All of that is a good place to start if you’re wondering why Madrid has appointed Gasol as one if its spokesmen in order to try to win a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the committee says Gasol, one of Spain’s most well-known athletes and a two-time Olympic silver medalist, will address the International Olympic Committee during Madrid’s final presentation in Buenos Aires next month.
Madrid is vying with Tokyo and Istanbul for the 2020 Summer Games, and the IOC will deliver its decision in Argentina on Sept. 7.
Gasol helped Spain win silver medals in both 2008 and 2012.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
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