NEW YORK - Rarely, if ever, does an NBA team allow a player it just drafted to represent his country at the Olympics in the same year.
There is too much newly-invested money in draft picks, and too much to learn in a short period of time, so NBA teams prefer their new guys focus on them, not on outside interests.
This is the problem facing Jamal Murray, who will hear his name called at the NBA Draft on Thursday evening. The Canadian sensation and former University of Kentucky star would like to play for Canada this summer, but based on how these things generally work, it seems unlikely.
Still, he is hopeful something can be worked out.
"That's one of my dreams, and that's something I want to do, so if there's any way I can go and play in the Philippines or in Rio, I'd like to try and find a way to make it happen," Murray said Wednesday afternoon at NBA Draft Media Day at the Grand Hyatt New York.
"You never know."
Canada will open play at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Philippines on July 5 in a six-team group that includes Turkey, Senegal, New Zealand, the Philippines and Euro-power France. The winner of the event is through to the Rio Olympics.
Whichever team Murray ends up on, he will play with its NBA Summer League entrant, either in Orlando from July 2-8 or Las Vegas from July 8-18. Should Canada emerge from qualifying and make it to Rio, Murray playing there is by no means a definite, but appears more manageable. Men's hoops in Rio runs Aug. 6-21, at a time when Murray would not have NBA responsibilities.
"Jamal Murray, I think there would be a question mark there, because I'm sure whoever he's drafted by will probably want him at Summer League," CIA Bounce AAU Director Tony McInyre said on the 4 Quarters Podcast on June 4. "He will be there, but I think the rest of the guys are kind of all-in and trying to make this thing work."
Long-viewed as a key piece of the future of the Canadian National Team, Murray played up with the Senior National Team last summer at the Pan American Games in Toronto. He was often-brilliant, specifically in the semifinals when he roasted the United States for 22 points across the fourth quarter and overtime of a 111-108 win.
Murray was added to Canada's training camp roster for FIBA Americas, but could not play due to responsibilities at Kentucky. Canada blew a seven-point fourth quarter lead to Venezuela in a FIBA Americas semifinal, and now must go through qualifying.
Canada's preliminary roster released on June 10 includes NBA players Joel Anthony, Tyler Ennis, who is McIntyre's son, and Cory Joseph. Canada General Manager Steve Nash indicated at the time that the roster is fluid, so more NBA guys like Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson and Kelly Olynyk are not being ruled out.
Wiggins and Olynyk played at FIBA Americas last summer, but Thompson did not as his free agency status was unresolved.
Canada is currently in the middle of five exhibition games in 12 days across Italy and Croatia ahead of the OQT on July 5.