De'Aaron Fox on Why He Withdrew from Team USA: 'That's for Me to Know'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2019

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 16: De'Aaron Fox #20 of Team USA handles the ball against Team Spain on August 16, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE  (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
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De'Aaron Fox isn't talking publicly about his decision to leave Team USA hours before the team flew to Australia for exhibition matchups.

"That's for me to know," Fox told TMZ Sports when asked why he left the team.

Fox added that he is "completely healthy," nixing any speculation he was dealing with a nagging injury.

The Sacramento Kings guard pulled out of Team USA training camp earlier this month despite impressing in practices and seeming like a good bet to make the final 12-man roster.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Fox's decision "stunned" Team USA officials. He had spoken highly of the experience in the days leading up to his decision. 

"I think it is a big opportunity just being able to be here," Fox said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "I think I have gotten better as a player, as a leader, understanding of the game entirely. And if I am able to be on this team and travel with this team, it's a big success."

It's possible Fox chose to pull out without a guarantee he would make the final 12-man roster. Team USA had 14 players on its training camp roster before Fox pulled out, meaning two players would have to be cut. The roster was finalized after Fox left and Kyle Kuzma suffered an injury in an exhibition game that forced him to withdraw.

Team USA is already running on the smaller side, so the cuts likely would have come from the wing or guard rotation. Fox was competing for a spot with Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Joe Harris. Smart and White are stronger defenders than Fox, and Harris is an elite spot-up shooter.

The combination of Fox's coy quote after leaving the team and his praise of the process beforehand makes it seem likely that he didn't want to find himself on the cut line.