Domantas Sabonis balances health, family, and contract factors ahead of FIBA World Cup 2023.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Lithuanian Basketball Federation Secretary General, Mindaugas Balciunas, provided some insights regarding the Lithuanian national team roster for the FIBA World Cup 2023.

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas  Sabonis
Team: Sacramento Kings
Position: PF, C
Age: 27
Height: 211 cm
Weight: 109 kg
Birth place: Portland, United States of America

It was revealed earlier that Lithuania would miss several important players in the upcoming event. Marius Grigonis (Panathinaikos), Lukas Lekavicius (Zalgiris), Edgaras Ulanovas (Zalgiris), and Rokas Giedraitis (Baskonia) have all confirmed that they will not be present at the national team camps.

Many doubts were around Zalgiris Kaunas wing Ignas Brazdeikis, but, according to Balciunas, the federation received positive signals regarding his participation in the World Cup.

"He doesn't have doubts," Balciunas underlined in an interview with BasketNews. "Even though his difficult psychological and physical condition once led to doubts, it doesn't mean he won't play. Both coach Kazys Maksvytis and himself have been giving positive signals. All he needs is to find some calm and rest. He simply requires some time to himself after the restless past two years.

"We're looking at a timeframe of around 5-6 weeks now, which I believe should be enough. I don't want to delve into Edgaras' decision or other players at this moment, but I believe, the beginning of July would be an appropriate time to engage in talks with the players."

Meanwhile, the Lithuanian NT situation surrounding Sacramento Kings All-Star center Domantas Sabonis remains uncertain.

Sabonis suffered an avulsion fracture of the ulnar collateral ligament of the right thumb in December and played through the injury until the end of the NBA season. 

"There are personal and basketball-related circumstances that are being resolved," Balciunas said regarding Sabonis. "We maintain regular communication with him, as does coach Maksvytis. Our priority is to avoid pressuring him. The surgery, his contract, and certainly his family -- all three of these factors hold significant importance. Notably, his wife is expecting a baby and is due around the time of the World Cup.

Credit FIBA

"I don't know which of those factors is the most important, but he has said: "I would really like to re-sign the contract and come in safe." Presently, the possibility of re-signing depends heavily on his health. Initially, he explored rehabilitative measures to address the issue. If surgery becomes necessary, it would complicate matters regarding his participation in the national team.

"In the event of unforeseen circumstances, we wouldn't panic since we have a roster of capable players. We would simply await the next year. I want to emphasize that we are closely monitoring the situation and maintaining constant contact, but we are not placing undue pressure on him. The second week of July is when we will know the full list of players."

In the upcoming FIBA World Cup, Lithuania will play in Group D and face Egypt, Montenegro, and Mexico.

Before the event, Lithuanians will compete in 10 friendly games.

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