Clippers’ rookie big man Mfiondu Kabengele, who was on Team Canada’s expanded roster that was released in mid-July, is not on the updated roster heading into training camp. There has not been any announcement of Mfiondu backing out, so it’s possible there was some sort of miscommunication, but as this was the official roster announcement, it’s overwhelmingly likely that he won’t be participating. Mfiondu could be dealing with an injury, he could have been told that he was unlikely to make the team and therefore sat out, or maybe he just wants to practice with his new Clippers’ teammates. We don’t know yet, but we will probably will soon. On a side note, former Clippers’ guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is not on the training camp roster either, so Clippers’ fans will have to wait a few more months to see SGA back on the court.
This news comes just a few days after Landry Shamet announced that he would not be participating in Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas due to a leg injury, and a couple weeks after Montrezl Harrell backed out as well to focus on the upcoming season. While the players are presumably making these decisions on their own volition, this Clippers’ front office has seemingly encouraged players not to participate in FIBA games over the past couple summers. Danilo Gallinari stayed out of Italy’s qualifiers last summer, as did Milos Teodosic for Serbia. The same could be true for Landry and Mfiondu.
Certainly, the FIBA games are an injury risk. But then again, players play in *relatively* competitive pickup games all the time, and they could be injured playing those as well. For younger guys like Mfiondu and Shamet, going to at least the training camps would seem to be a good way to learn a few tricks and get some outside, high-level coaching. It’s therefore at least somewhat disappointing that they will not be participating at all, injuries or not. On the other hand, the Clippers have invested a lot of money into sports science and analytics, and it’s very possible that they’ve discovered playing overseas in the summer brings more harm than good, on average.
No matter. With Mfiondu, Landry, and Montrezl all sitting out training camp, and most of the rest of the Clippers’ roster not invited to Team USA, the last Clippers’ player with a chance to appear in FIBA ball is Moe Harkless, who suits up for Puerto Rico. It will be interesting to see if he joins their team or not. If he does not, Clippers’ fans will not have a chance to see any Clippers players in action until training camp in late September.