Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 7/7/13

Aside from the free agency news running rampant once the 2012-13 NBA season came to a close, lost in the shuffle is the huge 2013 Eurobasket tournament in Slovenia this September. Countries such as Spain, Greece, Great Britain and others will be looking for a shot a qualifying for the next Olympic Games but if Team Spain wants a deep run un the tournament, and defend their title, they'll have to do it without big man Serge Ibaka. According to reports, the Thunder invited Ibaka to rest and heal injuries sustained during the past season. With that, he will skip the tournament leaving Spain a bit depleted in the front court. Without Serge, Spain should still be fighting for a shot at gold in Slovenia. Memphis center Marc Gasol will be there in Slovenia for the Spanish team and replacing Ibaka will be Nikola Mirotic who will be making his debut for the Spanish national team. Rest versus playing for ones country has always been a hot button when it comes to foreign-born NBA players. Aside from Ibaka, players such as Spurs' Tiago Splitter already stated they won't be playing for their national team this summer citing the need for rest. For OKC fans, seeing the big man heal up must bring a smile to their faces as well as a sign of relief. The Thunder's run in the postseason this past season was cut short due to losing guard Russell Westbrook to injury. So a healthy squad heading into next season should make noise in the West. But to do so, they will have to have their defensive-minded big man raring to go. [follow]

This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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