Under former USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, continuity was a top priority for the men’s national team. Colangelo required players to make two-year commitments to the program, maintained a pool of about 40 Team USA players, and conducted training camps in summers when there was no major international competition.
However, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic details, new managing director Grant Hill has decided to take a different approach, having concluded – along with new Team USA head coach Steve Kerr – that it’s not realistic to expect NBA superstars to commit back-to-back summers to the national program.
The plan for Team USA is to spend the next several months, into the spring, building the team that will represent the country at the World Cup in the Philippines next fall. USA Basketball will then repeat that process the following year in preparation for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Vardon writes.
While it remains to be seen which players will ultimately suit up for Team USA at those two events, Vardon’s article includes some additional info on potential candidates. Here are some highlights:
- Hawks star Trae Young has long wanted to play for Team USA at a World Cup or Olympics, but hasn’t gotten the chance to do so yet. He’s optimistic he’ll get that chance now that Hill – a minority owner of the Hawks – is so involved in the process. “It’s exciting, knowing someone who has more of a say,” Young told Vardon.
- Wizards star Bradley Beal missed the last World Cup due to the birth of his son and also had to sit out of the Olympics after contracting COVID-19, but he’s interested in playing for the team going forward. “I definitely see myself playing for USA,” Beal told Vardon. “That’s always been a goal of mine, obviously to play in the Olympics, but there’s a step to get there (the World Cup). So if it’s available to me, for sure.”
- Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is receiving “heavy consideration” from Team USA officials, according to Vardon. Allen would be interested if he’s invited to take part, telling Vardon he would “take a lot of pride in representing us on a stage in front of the world.”
- Confirming a previous report from Marc Stein, Vardon says Team USA is very interested in Joel Embiid, a native of Cameroon who has French and U.S. citizenship. USA Basketball hasn’t begun a formal recruitment of Embiid, but doesn’t want to see him join a French frontcourt that already features Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama.
- Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Zach LaVine are among the players who won gold with Team USA in Tokyo and would be welcomed back if they want to play in the 2023 World Cup, says Vardon.