Russell Westbrook won’t join Team USA in World Cup


Russell Westbrook has undergone three knee surgeries in the last 15 months.

As the 2014 playoffs approached, it wasn’t even certain Westbrook could play without a minute limit in the postseason.

The Thunder star could use a break this summer – and he’ll take one.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has withdrawn from USA Basketball’s roster for the World Cup in Spain this summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Westbrook, 25, still has hopes of playing in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, sources said.

I doubt Westbrook came to decision lightly. He played for the 2012 gold-medal championship team, and he wanted to play this summer.

When Team USA released its roster pool for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, I ranked Westbrook No. 10 most likely to make the Olympic team. The United States has a deep selection of point guards – including Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.

One of them can fill Westbrook’s spot this summer. If the replacement does well enough, Westbrook might need to re-earn his place in time for 2016.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.