New San Antonio Spurs big man Victor Wembanyama won’t play for France at the 2023 FIBA World Cup this summer in order to focus on his rookie season in the NBA, he told French outlet L’Equipe on Monday.

Wembanyama previously expressed interest in representing Les Bleus in the competition, which will be held from Aug. 25 to Sep. 10 in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.

“It would not be realistic in terms of development and not prudent in terms of health,” Wembanyama said. “I hope people will understand. It’s frustrating for me, too. The France team is still always central. I want to win as many titles as possible with the team. But I think it is a necessary sacrifice.”

Wembaynama cited a concern with too many games in such a short period if he suited up for France this summer. If he were to then feature in all 82 games as a rookie with the Spurs, he could reach 170 games played in two years by the end of his first year in the NBA.

The 19-year-old said he made the decision after conferring with those closest to him, including his own medical staff.

“The Spurs would have supported me whatever my choice had been,” he said.

Even without Wembanyama in the lineup, France is likely to remain the favorite to top Group H with Canada, Lebanon, and Latvia. Les Bleus, who finished third at the 2019 competition in China, open their tournament against the Canadians on Aug. 25.

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