Add another one to the list of players who have dropped out of USA Basketball. So far, that list is
• Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
• James Harden (Houston Rockets)
• Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
• CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
• Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
• Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
• Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Love’s floor spacing skills, rebounding, and outlet passes fit well in the international game. Love won gold with Team USA at the London Olympics.
The motivations behind all the defections are, in general, a combination of three things. First, the NBA title chase feels wide open this season with as many as eight teams thinking they have a legit shot at it, and the majority of those dropping out are on those teams. The players are prioritizing club over country. Secondly, FIBA moved the World Cup from 2018 to 2019, meaning if a player is eyeing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo they would be taking part in two straight summers of USA Basketball — likely after long playoff runs — to do both. Players are choosing to take the World Cup off. Third, this World Cup starts late, running Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, and runs right up against the start of training camps.
Even with all the withdrawals, the USA team is loaded with enough talent to three-peat as gold medalists at the event. Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes, Aaron Gordon, Thaddeus Young, P.J. Tucker, Julius Randle, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, and Myles Turner are among those invited.