FIBA.com reports that the Belgium national team has cut its only NBA player, center D.J. Mbenga, who has a championship ring with the L.A. Lakers and spent last season with the New Orleans Hornets. Mbenga had surgery in mid-June, but was physically fit for warm-up season for the Belgian squad. But coach Eddy Casteels apparently wasn't impressed with Mbenga's attitude.
"Didier Mbenga is medically fit, but physically and mentally not ready," Casteels said.
National team coaches have a history of making an example of NBA big shots, whether the treatment is warranted or not. Canadian coach Leo Rautins famously dismissed Samuel Dalembert -- born in Haiti, but who had went through the process to become a Canadian citizen to play for the team -- at the 2008 Olympics' last-chance qualifying tournament because of perceived attitude problems.
With or without Mbenga, Belgium was unlikely to make the cut for the knockout round, even in EuroBasket's weakest group (featuring favored Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Georgia and Bulgaria).