Trae Young, Bradley Beal, Tyrese Maxey Interested in Joining Team USA For World Cup

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 25, 2022

Trae Young
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal and Philadelphia 76ers' Tyrese Maxey have all expressed interest in playing for Team USA in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup next summer.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported Tuesday all three stars confirmed their desire to help the American squad bounce back from a disappointing seventh-place finish at the 2019 World Cup while also using the tournament to help bolster their chances of being chosen for the 2024 Summer Olympics roster.

"Yes, I'm definitely open to it," Young told Vardon. "I mean, even since I was in high school, it's been my dream as a basketball player. I've tried out multiple times since I've been in high school. There's been a couple of times when I could have been on that team, and it kind of hurt my heart."

Team USA manager director Grant Hill and head coach Steve Kerr have decided to abandon the program's previous desire to get NBA stars to make a commitment to play back-to-back summers, first for the World Cup and then the Olympics, per Vardon.

Instead, they'll take each tournament individually and build out the best possible roster from the players willing to make the offseason trip.

The 2023 World Cup is being split between Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, while the 2024 Olympics are taking place in Paris. The 2021 Olympics were in Tokyo.

Team USA management is cognizant of the travel demands of that many overseas trips following the long NBA seasons and understand players may not want to make a full-time annual summer commitment.

"I've never gotten the opportunity to do a World Cup," Beal told Vardon. "As long as I'm healthy, injury-free, and there's a place for me on the team, yeah, I'll probably be there in the Philippines."

Maxey added: "I would love to play for the country. That would be cool. It's always a blessing to represent your country, play with different guys, and go out there and compete."

It will likely create a situation in which the World Cup team is filled with players who may end up on the Olympic roster fringe, depending on whether LeBron James, Stephen Curry and the rest of the American superstars opt to play in Paris.

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen told Vardon he's yet to hear from Team USA officials, but he'd also “take a lot of pride in representing us on a stage in front of the world.”

"I understand that there's not a lot of traditional bigs like that in America, like the back-down bigs," Allen said. "Even I'm not even really like that typical, I guess, European basketball big in terms of just banging down there. But I'm here to fill a role, whatever they need, and I feel like I can fit into any role."

Finding centers who can fit the more European play style often on display in major international tournaments has been an issue for the Americans in recent years, but Allen's defensive prowess could bring a lot of value.

A lot of factors will come into play when building the roster, including what teams make deep runs in the NBA playoffs and which players are dealing with nagging injuries they will want the summer to rest, but the early buy-in sounds promising for Team USA.

The 2023 World Cup is scheduled to tip off on Aug. 25.