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Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen won’t be joining Finland for the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament next month, as relayed by Eurohoops.net.
Markkanen is coming off a strong rookie year with the Bulls and wants to focus on preparing for training camp at the end of next month. The World Cup qualifier also takes place in September.
“Representing the national team has always been an honor for me,” Markkanen said. “I always find it wonderful to play in the national team with familiar friends and in front of the world’s best fans. … This time, the dates of World Cup qualifiers are unfortunately bad for [NBA] preparation.”
The 7-footer and Arizona product averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds during his first run with the Bulls, appearing in 68 games.
The 2019 FIBA World Cup takes place next August.