Dalembert longshot for Canada

The chances of Philadelphia 76ers centre Samuel Dalembert playing for Canada at the FIBA Americas Olympic basketball qualifier next summer appear slim to nil.

The Sixers' starting centre, who was born in Haiti but moved to Montreal at age 14 and first played basketball in Quebec, has two major issues to overcome before he could even consider suiting up for Canada at the tournament in Las Vegas.

For starters, Dalembert doesn't have a Canadian passport and is not a Canadian citizen. And then there is Dalembert's personal desire to have Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash play for Canada again before he would do the same thing. Many think Nash's national team days are behind him.

"It would matter (who plays)," Dalembert said before the Sixers played the Raptors last night at the Air Canada Centre. "I always say if Steve Nash is playing, I'm always there. First of all, we have to know who we have and I'll be there."

Canada coach Leo Rautins has recruited Dalembert and would love him to wear red and white, but until the fourth-year NBAer becomes an official Canadian, any talk of the possibility is just talk.

"We would love to him and I think it would be great for us and fantastic for him," Rautins said. "But it's a little frustrating. He says all the right things, he'd love to play, it would be an honour to play. But there's no follow up. There's not much more we could do.

"The ball is in his court. You can knock on the door all you want, but at some point, he's got to open it."

Dalembert, who has many family members in Montreal, said he has tried to obtain Canadian status in the past.

"I did apply before and then they told me I've been an American for too long ... if I'm going to play for (Canada), I'm going to have to re-apply for it," he said.

Dalembert won't go as far as to reject the notion of playing for Canada one day.

"Yeah, there's always a chance," he said. "But you have to know exactly what the plan is going to be. I'm always willing to try."


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