In a report at FIBA Europe, Erazem Lorbek has confirmed he will play for Slovenia at the EuroBasket, giving his country a well-timed boost on the same day that Bostjan Nachbar was ruled out with an ankle injury.
The San Antonio Spurs acquired the draft rights to Lorbek on the 2011 NBA draft night in a trade with the Indiana Pacers for George Hill.
After long discussions over his availability, a deal has now been agreed between the Lorbek and the Basketball Federation of Slovenia, ensuring the Regal Barcelona forward will be available for coach Bozidar Maljkovic.
Early this month, Lorbek had told Maljkovic he did not want to play in Lithuania as he tried to sort out his future, given that he had an agreement with Barcelona and could leave this summer for the NBA, after seeing his rights traded to the Spurs.
However, he reversed his position two days later, and the two sides have now agreed a deal for Lorbek to play.
“We are very happy that we have been able to sit down with the player and his manager and talk about the situation to find a common language for the benefit of the national team, Erazem, and his team-mates,” said the Slovenia Basketball Federation Secretary General, Iztok Rems.
“Erazem was selected as a very important player, along with the other 11, and we need to look after all the players who travel to Lithuania.
“The story is now complete and we look only to the future, starting with the preparation of the team who gather on Wednesday.”
Lorbek will now have the opportunity to potentially play against some Spurs players that will participate at the 2011 EuroBasket qualifiers.
Namely, Tony Parker and Nando De Colo of France, and probably Davis Bertans of Latvia and Ryan Richards of Great Britain.
Parker and De Colo have already acquired their insurance to play for Team France. While Bertans and Richards will have to make the squad for their respective countries first.
The chances of Lorbek coming to San Antonio next season is almost impossible as he has signed a deal to stay with Regal F.C. Barcelona at least for one more season.
Nonetheless, It’ll be good for Spurs fans to see how he fares against some NBA players participating at the EuroBasket.
Lorbek averaged 16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game at EuroBasket 2009, and his presence will significantly give a huge lift to the Slovenian National Team.