Don’t expect to see a Dream Team or anything remotely close at this year’s FIBA World Cup. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported on Tuesday that Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and San Antonio Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan became the latest stars who withdraw their name from Team USA roster for the tournament.
Lillard and DeRozan join the long list of dropouts that includes the likes of Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, James Harden, Tobias Harris, C.J. McCollum, and Eric Gordon. According to Haynes, the reason for such a big number of rejections is the players’ wish to be better prepared for the upcoming NBA season. With no clear favorites for the title this year, and a significant number of moves that majority of the teams made in the offseason, NBA stars choose to get to know their teammates better and develop chemistry rather than play in China.
You may think that there is no one left on the Team USA anymore, but the United States will still be the favorite with Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Boston Celtics’ All-Star Kemba Walker and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton reportedly confirming their participation. The rest of the roster includes Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, Denver Nuggets’ Paul Millsap, Houston Rockets’ P.J. Tucker, and Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner among others.
Celtics’ duo Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, as well as New York Knicks’ Julius Randle and Chicago Bulls’ Thaddeus Young, are set to join the team during the training camp.
The training camp will take place from August 5th to August 9th in Las Vegas, after which the Team USA roster will be cut down to 12 players. FIBA World Cup kicks off on August 31st in China.