While San Antonio Spurs’ Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili will kick off the FIBA Americas Tournament in Argentina today and Tony Parker and Team France will get things going tomorrow, one Spur who could’ve been participating in the pre-Olympic tournament hoopla is Matt Bonner.
About the only thing Bonner is mired in right now is the lockout and new CBA discussions but if it was up to him, he would also be suiting up for Team Canada in Argentina.
Bonner’s application for Canadian citizenship is still stuck in red-tape and not playing for Canada still weighs on his mind.
“It’s just one of those things. It’s hard to talk about because it’s kind of a bummer for me. I just wish it would go through so I could represent the country.”
“I just thought it would be awesome to be able to get my passport and represent my country on the national team,” Bonner said.
And its not just Bonner who wishes he was in Argentina, Canadian head coach Leo Rautins also wishes Bonner made the trip and feels bad for him.
“I feel bad for him, he’s dying to play, he wants to play,” Rautins said after a recent practice in Toronto. “One of the concerns is that he doesn’t spend enough time here, but he’s an NBA player where you’ve got only 450 jobs, so if you’re not on the only team in Canada, you don’t really have a choice of having to be in San Antonio three quarters of the year, so it’s out of your hands.”
So as Bonner continues to battle it out in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners, he is going to keep a close eye on Canada and and hope his other battle with Canadian laws get ironed out as well.
“Absolutely, I know all those guys, it’s a great group of guys and they work hard,” said Bonner.