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Kristaps Porzingis hopes to play for Latvia in this summer’s Eurobasket tournament

A welcome respite from his professional team!

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last summer, Kristaps Porzingis decided to stay away from the Latvian national team in the Olympic qualifying tournament. Things could very well be different this time around, as the Knicks’ young Latvian stud told that he “absolutely” hopes to play for Latvia in the 2017 Eurobasket tournament, which takes place from August 31 to September 17 in Istanbul.

"Playing in Istanbul is going to be intense,” Porzingis said, “as it's a country and a city that loves basketball. We will need to be ready from day one and play at our best level. We will also need a bit of luck like every team needs in this kind of competition. It would be nice to see the national team play well and I would like to help the team win games."

Latvia will be playing in Group D against Great Britain, Belgium, Russia, Serbia and the host nation, Turkey. The big matchup would be Kristaps vs. Serbians Nikola Jokic and Dario Saric. (note: Saric is, in fact, Croatian. I know the difference, I swear!) Personally, I will watch Kristaps take on Russian guard and Knicks legend Alexey Shved while dreaming about what could have been.

Be happy, Kristaps. Be healthy, too.