The FIBA 2014 World Cup is coming up in August in Spain as teams around the world will try to secure the gold medal and a shot at the Rio Olympic games.
However, if Team USA wants to defend their crown, they’ll have to do it without Thunder’s Russell Westbrook.
Citing rest and time to recover from knee injuries, Russell Westbrook decided it be best for him to sit out leaving a window for other NBA players to step up for the U.S.
Chairman Jerry Colangelo said Tuesday that USA Basketball had been communicating with Westbrook since the end of the season and knew his withdrawal was a possibility. Westbrook was a member of the Americans’ gold medal-winning teams at the 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympics. He has had multiple knee operations since, though was able to help the Thunder reach the Western Conference finals. Colangelo says in a statement that the U.S. would love to have Westbrook but that “this is the right decision.” The Americans will begin training camp on July 28 in Las Vegas, a month before the World Cup of Basketball opens in Spain.
With Russell out, players such as Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, John Wall or Damian Lillard might see their moment to shine on a world stage.
Competition in Spain will be stiff as foreign NBA players will be suiting up for their respective countries such as Manu Ginobili (possibly) for Team Argentina.