[EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the years, Spin.ph has been routinely getting questions from readers about a variety of subjects - from tournament formats to player salaries to schedules to rules clarifications to personal information about players. Some may seem trivial, but obviously not for readers who take the time to toss the questions on our social media pages, begging for an answer. That's the reason we've come up with this Q & A section, in the hope of clearing up some matters for our readers. Here's Part V of the series]
Question: Can Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson play for Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July?
Answer: The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) remains hopeful Clarkson can suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic wildcard qualifiers next year, but admitted the Fil-American guard's availability and eligibility will have to go through a rigid process.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said Clarkson will have to gain clearance from world governing body Fiba, the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers before he can join Gilas in one of the three qualifying tournaments in July that will reward berths to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Barrios admitted the process won't be easy, but he takes confidence from the fact that Clarkson himself has made it clear he wants to play with his 'Gilas brothers' in future international tournaments.
"That's the good thing, we all know Jordan Clarkson wants to play for Gilas," Barrios told Spin.ph. "But we still have to go through three parties, namely the Fiba, NBA and the Lakers if he is to play for us."
The former PBA commissioner said Clarkson's availability has yet to be tackled by the national body at this time since it is busy laying the groundwork for its bid to host one of the three Olympic qualifiers.
The SBP, Barrios said, is in the process of completing all the requirements ahead of the November 23-24 meeting of the Fiba executive committee that will pick the host cities.
The SBP had made efforts to gain clearance for Clarkson ahead of the last Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China, but Barrios said the process stalled when it became clear the 6-5 guard won't be able to suit up for Gilas for the duration of the tournament owing to a conflict in schedule with the Lakers.
"Now we have to start all over again if we tap Clarkson for the (Olympic) qualifiers," said Barrios.
Aside from Fiba, the SBP, Barrios said, will have to gain the permission of the NBA and the Lakers, who in the past have said that they are willing to lend Clarkson to the Philippine national team, so long as the stint does not clash with the NBA ballclub's own schedule.
The good news is, the NBA season will be over by the time the Olympic qualifiers are held from July 4-10 - and Clarkson can even get more lead time if the Lakers fail to make it deep in the playoffs.
However, there is still the issue on Clarkson's contract which expires at the end of this season.
Clarkson is currently the Lakers' leading scorer this season with an 18.3-point average after his career high-tying 30-point performance in a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. If his progress continues, it won't be a surprise if he is rewarded with a multi-million, long-term deal at the end of the season.
The negotiations, if these drag on, and the anticipated huge contract can pose complications with his Gilas stint, not to mention additional cost for national team patron Manny V. Pangilinan who will need to insure the contract in the event Clarkson plays for the Philippines.