Another star player has pulled out of the 2019 World Cup, with James Harden confirming today that he’ll skip this year’s event to focus on adjusting to the new-look Rockets backcourt (Twitter link via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).
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A report earlier this week indicated that new Lakers big man Anthony Davis was also withdrawing his name from consideration for Team USA’s 12-man World Cup roster.
While the removal of Harden and Davis from USA Basketball’s 20-man training camp roster reduces the group’s star power to some extent, there’s still a ton of talent among the 18-player group, which will eventually be pared down to 12 players for China.
Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, and Kyle Lowry are among the 2019 All-Stars who are a part of Team USA’s preliminary roster.
They’ll be joined by younger prospects like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, and Kyle Kuzma, as well as reliable veteran role players like P.J. Tucker, Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, and Paul Millsap.
Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Kevin Love, CJ McCollum, and Myles Turner round out the 18-man group.
It remains to be seen if Team USA will add replacements for Harden and Davis.