Israel coach Arik Shivek blasted the Dallas Mavericks on Monday for putting Gal Mekel in an “impossible situation” that forced him to pull out of September’s EuroBasket tournament.
Mekel notified Shivek on Sunday that he has decided not to play for the blue-and-white in the European Championships in order to focus on his preparations for his rookie season in the NBA with the Mavs.
Shivek believes Mekel was left no choice by the Dallas management.
“Mekel told me that he was put in a room with General Manager Donnie Nelson and all the coaches and they told him that as a rookie he would have a better chance of playing more minutes at the start of the season if he takes part in the preliminary training camp as well as the final camp,” Shivek said.
This is an uncomfortable situation for every party involved. Shivek had to express his displeasure with the situation; the European Championships are important and a key component for the Israeli National team has been removed from the situation. Mekel not participating should not have been a surprise, particularly with owner Mark Cuban’s long and vocal aversion to international competitions using players under contract with professional teams.
However, the Mavericks made Gal Mekel their first off-season acquisition. He performed well at Summer League. Mekel has a real opportunity to earn minutes early in the Maverick season, particularly with the injury to first round draft pick Shane Larkin.
It’s a disappointing situation, no question, but not entirely surprising either. This early into his NBA professional career Mekel can’t afford to miss training camp.
Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog