Report: Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan Withdraw from Team USA for FIBA World Cup

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2019

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 07: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs dribbles against Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the second quarter during their game at Moda Center on February 7, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard and San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan are reportedly set to withdraw from Team USA training camp ahead of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports replayed the update Tuesday on Lillard, while Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic noted DeRozan's decision to skip international play this summer.

Team USA has endured a mass exodus from its preliminary roster for the tournament, which tips off August 31 in China.

The Houston Rockets' James Harden and Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson, Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris and Blazers' CJ McCollum previously withdrew from camp.

That doesn't even include superstars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard, who weren't on the provisional roster.

Although American basketball depth is unmatched—Team USA is still a sizable -400 favorite to win the FIBA World Cup, per OddsChecker—it's getting to the point where the team could be seriously tested in China, especially in the knockout stages.

It's the first tournament under head coach Gregg Popovich of the Spurs, who's taken the reins from longtime Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

In February, Popovich said he wouldn't spend the NBA season trying to convince the league's top American players to represent the country during the offseason.

"I just think that would be inappropriate for me before games to go up to one or two guys on each team and say, 'Hey, are you going to play for us this summer? I'd really like to have you,'" he told reporters. "He's there to try to whip (us). He's got a different priority that night, and I think it would be inappropriate for me try to do that."

The top two finishers from the Americas in the World Cup will earn qualification for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

It's unclear if the level of participation among the NBA's elite players will be higher for the Olympic team.


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