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Report: James Harden, Anthony Davis Targeted for USA's FIBA World Cup Team

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2019

United States' James Harden reacts during the final World Basketball match between the United States and Serbia at the Palacio de los Deportes stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

USA Basketball is targeting Houston Rockets guard James Harden and New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis for this summer's FIBA World Cup, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein.

Per Stein, there have been "strong indications" that Davis wants to play in the tournament. Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker—who is scheduled to be a free agent this summer—has already reportedly committed to the team.

Stein added that former Duke star and projected No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is also on Team USA's radar. Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell is also a name to keep an eye on, Stein noted.

Harden previously suited up for Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, winning the gold medal in both events. He averaged a team-high 14.2 points on 53.2 percent shooting (42.9 percent from three-point range) while playing 22 minutes per game in nine World Cup contests.

His NBA career has blossomed even more since the 2014 World Cup. Not only has his string of consecutive All-Star appearances reached seven, but he has also added the 2017-18 NBA MVP award while being named first team All-NBA five times.

Harden led the NBA in scoring for the second consecutive season in 2018-19, averaging a career-high 36.1 points per game.

Meanwhile, Davis was a teammate of Harden's in both the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup. He averaged 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game in nine appearances during the World Cup.

He has been voted first-team All-NBA three times since his World Cup experience with Team USA.

It's not clear if Davis' uncertain future in New Orleans will have any impact on his decision. The 2012 No. 1 overall pick publicly requested a trade from the Pelicans in January, but the team opted not to move him prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline. He figures to be at the center of attention this summer as he can be a free agent following the 2019-20 season if he declines his $28.8 million player option. 

The 2019 FIBA World Cup will be played in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15. According to Stein, USA Basketball's training camp will be held in early August.