Dirk Nowitzki considering return to German team for Olympic qualifying

Christof Koepsel

If Germany has a shot at qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics Dirk Nowitzki could make a return to international play.

The German national team was eliminated in the first round of group play in the 2013 EuroBasket tournament, playing without long-time players Chris Kaman and Dirk Nowitzki. If Germany has a chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, however, Dirk Nowitzki will consider playing for his national team again, reports Marc Stein of ESPN:

But Nowitzki says he'll indeed consider a return to international basketball that summer if he thinks his return to the German national squad can clinch a spot for his homeland in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

"If I'm still healthy enough and we have a chance to qualify, then I'd consider it," Nowitzki told ESPN.com late Monday.

The top-two teams from EuroBasket automatically advance to the Olympics, meaning the German team will have to be invited to the final Olympic qualifying tournament, held in August 2015.

FIBA invites the top-two teams that did not qualify for the Olympics from each of the six "zones" to compete for the final openings for Olympic play. The top three teams from the qualifying tournament advance to the 12-team pool competing in the Olympics.

Nowitzki, now 35, will tack on two additional NBA seasons before the qualifying tournament and will be 37 if he does play for his home country again. He last played for Germany during the 2011 EuroBasket tournament.

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