The FIBA World Cup has only drawn closer since Monday, and Team USA’s prospects have only gotten drearier. The players’ excuses are starting to increasingly resemble ones that might be used to beg out of a coworker’s birthday party.
The training camp begins August 5 in Las Vegas. Kevin Love and Paul Millsap have officially bowed out, which means nine of the initial 20 invitees won’t play. A fresh wave of mid-week invites got Mason Plumlee in the mix. On Thursday, we reached the phase where Montrezl Harrell is politely declining. The Clippers big man is, per Shams Charania, “appreciative” of the invite. At least Harrell can point to title contention as a reason.
Today’s strenuously phrased Charania report says that J.J. Redick has “tremendous desire to participate.” It’s just that he’s just too busy moving to New Orleans with his family. No player wants to burn any bridges with the Olympics a summer away.
As it stands, the participants who haven’t yet bowed out are Plumlee, Jaylen Brown, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Thaddeus Young, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, and Kemba Walker. Soon we’ll hear that Randle “was powerfully passionate about representing his country,” but might have left his oven on and really should go check on it.