CHICAGO - As it starts digging in the trenches to prepare for the country's co-hosting of the Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023, the Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP) received a bit of good news today.
"Kai Sotto and Jordan Clarkson will be available" to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the centerpiece event this August, multiple sources told SPIN.ph.
After skipping the February window of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers, there was speculation that the 7-foot-4 wunderkind would also miss the World Cup as he continues to pursue his NBA dream.
Sotto is currently playing for the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the Japan B League where he is expected to get busy before heading to the US to participate in NBA mini camps and then play in the Summer League.
Despite his tight schedule, though, it now appears that Sotto is determined to make time to answer the call of duty.
Previously, doubts had similarly lingered on Clarkson's availability.
A full-time starter for the Utah Jazz where he is averaging 20.8 points and 4.4 assists per in 61 games, Clarkson is entering a contract year and he is eligible for a lucrative four-year $71.7 million veteran's extension.
As such, a working theory exists that Jordan, 31, may skip the World Cup rather than risk all that money on the table in the event of a catastrophic injury.
WELL, THAT THEORY NO LONGER APPLIES. CLARKSON IS ALL IN
Asked to comment on this development, an SBP executive who requested anonymity said they are elated at the thought of having two foundational pieces available at their disposal.
But he cautioned that Sotto's and Clarkson's availability and willingness to play doesn't mean they will automatically have a spot in the 12-man roster.
"It still depends on when they can join the team and how much," he said.
What that means is that the federation would like to ascertain if both stars can devote enough time to practice with Gilas and develop chemistry with the rest of the team.
The federation would also like to know both players' asking price in fees and make a determination if such expense falls within the budget.
For perspective, Clarkson got a reported $1 million for his engagement in the 2018 Asian Games. His stock has since risen exponentially.
The same is true with Kai, now an international star with the NBA within reach.
Hopefully, the stars will align when it comes to making the schedules and finances work.