T-Wolves block Hernangomez from Olympics, upsetting Spanish federation
At the behest of the Minnesota Timberwolves, forward Juancho Hernangomez will not play for the Spanish national team at the Tokyo Olympics due to the shoulder injury he suffered in a scrimmage against France earlier this month.
"We support our international players' decisions to play with their National teams and appreciate the passion of Juancho and the Spanish Federation to represent their country," Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas said in a club-issued statement.
"Unfortunately, we are dealing with an active injury. Based on our team physician's recommendation, Juancho needs time to recover from and rehabilitate his injury, and that timeline restricts Juancho's availability to participate in the Tokyo Olympics."
The reversal has deeply upset Hernangomez, reports The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski, as he and Spain believed the NBA team's medical personnel had cleared him for action.
Jorge Garbajosa, the president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, publicly blasted Rosas in a press conference from Tokyo.
"We've had countless medical meetings and we've never received a 'no,'" the former NBA player said, according to Krawczynski. "We have received a 'yes.'
"We don't have a problem with the Minnesota Timberwolves or the NBA. It's a problem of people - not medical personnel - who have personally decided that Juancho couldn’t play. I'm talking about their president of basketball operations."
Rather than appeal the T-Wolves' decision, Spain has reportedly replaced Hernangomez with Xabi Lopez-Arostegui, a forward who plays for Valencia Basket in Spain's top domestic league.
Hernangomez was one of nine players with NBA experience named to Spain's Olympic roster, a cohort that includes his Timberwolves teammate Ricky Rubio and his older brother, New Orleans Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez. Juancho helped Spain win gold at the FIBA World Cup in 2019.
In 52 appearances for the Timberwolves in 2020-21, Hernangomez averaged 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds.