Sixers Yank Andres Nocioni Out of FIBA World Championship
Nocioni held a press conference in Kayseri, Turkey, where Argentina will compete in Group A of the World Championship beginning Saturiday. The official FIBA account describes Nocioni as affected and teary.
The problem Argentine fans will have with this decision by the Sixers is that Nocioni doesn't figure to be a huge part of the franchise going forward. Philadelphia acquired El Chapu and Spencer Hawes from Sacramento for Samuel Dalembert in what was effectively a salary dump by both teams, with the Sixers saving money this season and the Kings getting out from under Nocioni's longer contract.
Nocioni will not start for Philadelphia and will in all likelihood struggle for minutes behind Andre Iguodala, who has been pushed to small forward because of the drafting of Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. Furthermore, Philadelphia, one of the Eastern Conference's worst teams last season, will struggle to contend for a playoff spot, no matter how effective new coach Doug Collins can be.
International play just doesn't have the same attachment for most Americans as it does for players and fans from countries like Argentina. That's why Jorge Garbajosa risked his NBA career to play for Spain in 2008. That's why Nocioni is torn up about having to skip the tournament. This matters a great deal to these players, and it's unfortunate the Sixers felt the need to exert their power here, considering the circumstances.
The absence of Nocioni works to place more pressure on Bucks guard Carlos Delfino and Rockets forward Luis Scola. Manu Ginobili isn't playing this summer, having just signed an extension with the Spurs. Argentina remains the favorite in Group A (top rival Serbia will be without center Nenad Krstic for three games). Australia and Germany were impressive in warmups; Argentina will test each early, opening against the young German squad Saturday and following up against the Boomers on Sunday.