Source: Oshae Brissett won't play with Team Canada this summer

Kevin Pritchard: "He’s a real talent, he’s got real athleticism and he’s knocking down shots and he’s guarding. We’ve been after that 4 for a lot of time now."

Oshae Brissett has elected not to be with the Canadian Basketball National Team this summer, a source close to Brissett told Fieldhouse Files.

Brissett accepted an invitation to training camp earlier this year and is listed on the team’s 24-man roster submitted to FIBA, which also includes former Pacer Cory Joseph and 2014 Indiana Mr. Basketball Trey Lyles. The president and CEO of Canada Basketball is Glen Grunwald, who played at Indiana University from 1976 to 1981.

It’s been a long year for all of us, but especially for Brissett. It was all new, unpredictable — and lonely. He was on his own, away from his family, for most of the last year.

  • Welcomed his first child, a daughter, in May 2020.

  • Joined the Raptors in the NBA bubble last July.

  • Remained with the Raptors through training camp in December, then was waived.

  • Drafted in the second round of the G League draft by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

  • Signed with the Pacers on April 1.

According to the source, Brissett opted out because his $1.7 million salary is non-guaranteed for next season, and he wants to be healthy for an important year ahead of him.

This decision is not a surprise because in late May, during his exit interview, he was still unsure of what he would do.

“I love playing for Team Canada,” Brissett said. “I’ve done it a couple times now. With the way everything is going, I’m still debating (about it).”

Team Canada still has a chance to earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics. The roster will be trimmed down to 12 and then six teams will convene in Victoria, B.C. June 29-July 4 with one spot in the Olympics on the line. The other five teams: China, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey and Uruguay.

The National Team is once again coached by Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors. They began training this week in Tampa at the Raptors practice facility. That was their home for the last year in light of COVID-19 and being unable to travel back and forth across the border.

Nurse has not discussed Brissett’s availability, nor has he addressed former Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren rejoining his national team staff, as expected. Before the Pacers and Raptors met in the regular-season finale, back on May 16, I asked Bjorkgren whether he was planning to assist Nurse, his close friend, once again this summer.

“I’d like to be a part of that,” he replied. “I was a part of that last summer and have been a part of that group. It’s a great group and it’s obviously an honor to coach the Canadian National Team.”

Bjorkgren was fired by the Pacers on June 9th after less than eight months as head coach.

Brissett, 22, was a highlight from the Pacers’ season. He joined them late in the season, signing a 10-day contract on April 1. He then earned another one and then signed a three-year deal with the team. During all of this, he lived out of a suitcase in a downtown hotel.

“He’s confident, he knows his role on the team, he stays in his lane, he’s a great teammate and he makes big shots,” Malcolm Brogdon said during the season. “He plays the game the right way.”

The Pacers’ roster was depleted due to injuries so they took a flier on their standout from the G League bubble … and found themselves a gem. He started in 16 of 21 games and averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 32.3 percent from range.

“We really feel like we’ve got something there,” said Pacers president Kevin Pritchard. “He’s a real talent, he’s got real athleticism and he’s knocking down shots and he’s guarding. We’ve been after that 4 for a lot of time now. I don’t know where his level is, I don’t know if he’s a starter or if he’s a backup, but I know he’s an NBA player. To get that from our G League will pay huge dividends.”

Brissett was proud of how he was able to join the team and immediately make an impact by being versatile and playing his game. He also has some goals for this offseason.

“I want to put on some weight and get stronger to be ready for next year,” he said last month. “Being able to guard bigger guys, stronger guys and be able to play every single game. I want to be able to show up for the team, for my coaches and the fans while bringing a lot of energy to the Pacers.”

In March, after the G League season with the Mad Ants, Brissett was without a job. Now, he has two more years under contract with the Pacers and chose not to play with Team Canada.