Portland Trail Blazers center Festus Ezeli will reportedly not be joining the Nigeria D’Tigers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, according to Nigeria Basketball.
NBA champion and new Portland Trailblazer Festus Ezeli will not join D'Tigers this summer according to his camp.— Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) July 26, 2016
Adekunle Binuyo of Basketball Within Borders cites a lack of "reasonable insurance of his NBA contract" among the reasons for Ezeli’s absence.
"A source close to Ezeli’s camp told Basketball Within Borders that one of the reasons the 6’11 center is unable to join the Nigerian team is because the Nigeria Basketball Federation could not come to terms with Ezeli on reasonable insurance of his NBA contract."
This is not at all uncommon, though it does little to quiet concerns about Ezeli’s history of knee problems. The 26-year-old had surgery to reinforce the ligaments in his right knee in 2013 and surgery to clear debris from his left knee in 2015. Many have speculated that the Trail Blazers were able to sign him to an inexpensive contract in free agency because of future health concerns, in which case, it makes sense for Ezeli to play it safe.
Binuyo also reports that Ezeli’s Trail Blazing teammate Al-Farouq Aminu is presently at training camp with the Nigerian team, though insurance information is not available.
H/T: Dan Graves