USA Basketball

De’Aaron Fox To Withdraw From Team USA

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox will become the latest player to withdraw from Team USA, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris B. Haynes (Twitter link). Fox will focus on Sacramento’s 2019/20 season with the goal of making the postseason, Haynes adds.

In addition to Fox, Rockets’ center P.J. Tucker withdrew on Friday due to injury, with Kyle Lowry and Marvin Bagley having previously pulled out. Team USA is down to 13 players, so just one more cut is necessary to set its 12-man roster for the 2019 World Cup.

Fox, 21, is entering this season coming off an outstanding sophomore campaign for the Kings. In 81 games, the University of Kentucky Product averaged 17.3 PPG and 7.3 APG for Sacramento.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Miles, Fox, Walton

Stephen Curry remains optimistic that the Warriors can retain their status as an elite team, Janie McCauley of The Associated Press reports. Despite losing Kevin Durant in free agency and Klay Thompson to a major knee injury, along with trading Andre Iguodala, Curry believes younger players and key additions are ready for the challenge.

“It’s just a change in dynamic all the way around,” the Warriors’ star guard said. “We’re excited about the opportunities, the challenges for the whole roster, because we’ve got a lot of guys that have the opportunity to really prove themselves and make a difference in our team. Obviously our core, ’til Klay gets back, we know how to win and we know how to play. We’re just going to do it a little differently.”

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have named Aaron Miles as a player development coach, according to a team press release. He served as the head coach of the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors for the past two seasons, posting a 57-43 record. Miles’ promotion was previously reported by 2 Ways & 10 Days. Kris Weems has officially been named the organization’s new G League coach.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has caught everyone’s attention at the USA Basketball training camp with his quickness and Celtics guard Kemba Walker sees Fox’s jumper improving as well. “What impressed me the most is probably his shooting,” Walker told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other reporters. “He has really been knocking it down. That is what is going to take him to that next level. Like for myself entering the league, the next step for me was my jump shot. That is what helped me get to the next level.” Whenever he consistently gets that, it will be over.” Fox shot 45.8% overall and 37.1% from long range in his second NBA season.
  • Luke Walton has already made a good impression with Kings players prior to training camp, as Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register details. Big man Marvin Bagley is one of the players that Walton has supervised during personal workouts. “He’s been there helping me out,” Bagley said of his new coach. “Been there for my workouts, telling me what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, what I need to get better at. I think it’s gonna be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to playing for him as a head coach and getting into it.”

P.J. Tucker Withdraws From Team USA Due To Ankle Injury

Another veteran has withdrawn from Team USA’s World Cup roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that an ankle injury will sideline P.J. Tucker. The Rockets forward will focus on getting healthy and preparing for training camp, per Charania.

Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that Tucker turned his left ankle in a practice on Thursday and has been diagnosed with a mild sprain. The 34-year-old had been “extremely enthusiastic” about participating in the World Cup, so he’ll be disappointed to miss it, Feigen adds.

It was less than a week ago that USA Basketball announced 17 finalists for its World Cup roster. Since then, Tucker, Kyle Lowry, and Marvin Bagley have all pulled out, leaving 14 contenders for the final 12-man roster.

Harrison Barnes, Jaylen BrownDe’Aaron FoxJoe HarrisKyle KuzmaBrook Lopez, Khris MiddletonDonovan MitchellMason PlumleeMarcus SmartJayson Tatum, Myles TurnerKemba Walker, and Derrick White remain in the mix to represents Team USA in China. The 2019 World Cup will get underway on August 31.

World Cup Notes: Olynyk, Canada, Select Team

As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a knee injury will prevent Heat forward Kelly Olynyk from playing for Team Canada during this year’s World Cup in China. The Heat confirmed as much today in a press release announcing Olynyk’s right knee bone bruise.

According to Wojnarowski and the Heat, Olynyk is expected to be ready for the start of the NBA regular season. However, it’s not clear whether he’ll be healthy enough to fully participate in training camp next month. If he’s not, it could mean added reps for the likes of Meyers Leonard, James Johnson, Duncan Robinson, and/or some camp invitees.

As for Team Canada, their World Cup squad takes yet another hit. It has been overshadowed by all the Team USA withdrawals, but Team Canada has also experienced an exodus of NBA players from its roster, as we detailed last week. Olynyk joins Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tristan Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Dwight Powell, and many other Canadians on the list of players won’t be participating in the 2019 World Cup.

Here are a few more notes related to the World Cup:

And-Ones: Extension Deadlines, Team USA Scrimmages, James

The deadline for players to sign rookie extensions prior to opening night this upcoming season is Monday, October 21 at 6 p.m. ET, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN. That group of 18 eligible players includes Pascal Siakam, Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown.

The extension deadline is the same for a veteran with multiple years remaining on his contract who has met certain criteria, including All-Star guard Bradley Beal. Players with one year left (including a player option) have until June 30, 2020 to sign an extension.

Regular season rosters will also be set on October 21, while Saturday, October 19 will be the last day a team can waive a player with a non-guaranteed contract and not incur a cap hit, Marks adds (Twitter links here).

We have more from the basketball world:

  • The USA Basketball World Cup team will scrimmage against a collection of G League and fringe NBA players over the next three days, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. There are 15 players remaining on the USA roster with Monday’s withdrawal by Kyle Lowry and 12 will make the final roster that will compete in the FIBA tournament in China. The group they’ll scrimmage will be called the L.A. Select Team and be coached by Jeff Van Gundy. That team will include players who participated in FIBA qualifiers, including Scotty Hopson, Chasson Randle and Ben Moore, Givony adds in another tweet.
  • Former Suns and Pelicans guard Mike James has signed with CSKA Moscow, according to a tweet from the team. James played a total of 36 NBA games in 2017/18, averaging 9.3 PPG and 3.5 APG in 19.1 MPG. James appeared in 30 Euro League games with Olimpia Milano last season, averaging a league-high 19.8 PPG and 6.8 APG. James and the Italian team mutually parted ways late last month.
  • The NBA released 2019/20 season schedules for every team on Monday. You can find them here.

Kyle Lowry Withdraws From USA World Cup Squad

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has withdrawn from the USA Basketball World Cup team, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

While many withdrawals prior to training camp were due to players focusing on their NBA season, Lowry has a legitimate injury excuse. He underwent thumb surgery last month, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports notes (Twitter link), and hasn’t been cleared to resume basketball activity.

Lowry might have been cleared prior to the tournament but has to be careful since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer. He told the media during Team USA’s camp that he’d love to sign an extension prior to free agency.

Lowry was a member of the 2016 USA Olympic team and hopes to make the final roster for the 2020 squad, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Lowry dealt with the thumb issue much of the postseason but was still productive during the championship run, posting averages of 15.0 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 4.9 RPG with a .439/.359/.802 shooting line in 24 playoff contests.

Team USA has some depth at the point guard spot despite Lowry’s defection. Kemba Walker will likely get the bulk of the minutes while De’Aaron Fox and combo guards Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart could also run the offense. The FIBA tournament begins next month in China.

And-Ones: Team USA, Beasley, Draft Picks, NCAA

While some NBA players have considered the matter, Paul George‘s gruesome leg injury suffered during a Team USA scrimmage in the summer of 2014 hasn’t necessarily impacted every player’s decision on playing in the FIBA World Cup next month, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes.

George, who was stretchered off the court after fracturing his tibia and fibula, was coming off a career season with averages of 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest at the time. Many wondered if George would ever be the same due to the injury, but he worked vigorously to get his body back to shape and eventually became an even better all-around player.

“I appreciate the guys who still come out here and do this, because a lot of people would say, ‘If something like that could happen, why would you come out here and risk it?’ But I was talking with Coach Malone and he said, ‘You guys are in the gym playing anyway.’ If you’re playing basketball, you’re playing basketball,” Nuggets center Mason Plumlee said, as relayed by Stein.

While Plumlee has opted to keep his name in team consideration for next month, several stars such as Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love and others have already withdrawn from competition to focus on the upcoming NBA season.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup begins on Saturday, Aug. 31, with Team USA scheduled to play its first game against the Czech Republic on Sunday, Sept. 1.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world tonight:

  • Michael Beasley‘s five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy stems from a failed drug test last fall, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Beasley failed the test around the same time his mom was dying of cancer, Charania notes.
  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic examines why NBA teams aren’t hoarding first-round draft picks as frequently as they have in the past. Of the 30 first-round picks in June’s NBA draft, 11 of them changed teams either around or on the night of the event.
  • Michael McCann of Sports Illustated explored how NBA power agent Rich Paul could build a case against the NCAA for changing its criteria for agents who wish to represent collegiate players. The NCAA is expected to enforce that certified agents have a bachelor’s degree, be certified by the NBPA for at least three years and pass an in-person exam at the organization’s headquarters, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Marvin Bagley III Withdraws From Team USA

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III has withdrawn from Team USA’s training camp to focus on the upcoming NBA season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Bagley, who earned a promotion to the Team USA senior roster by playing well in training camp last week, had impressed coaches and officials enough to earn consideration for the final 12-man roster that has yet to be finalized, Stein notes in a separate tweet.

Bagley is coming off a rookie season that saw him average 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and one block in 25.3 minutes per contest, playing off the bench in 62 of his 65 games. He beat out fellow bigs Thaddeus Young and Bam Adebayo to make the senior roster on Team USA.

The Kings still have third-year guard De’Aaron Fox and veteran forward Harrison Barnes vying to make the final group out of 16 remaining players. The FIBA World Cup is scheduled to begin play on Aug. 31, with Team USA set to have its first game on Sept. 1.

Team USA Announces 17 Finalists For World Cup Roster

After cutting both Bam Adebayo and Thaddeus Young following Friday’s scrimmage, Team USA has announced 17 finalists for the FIBA World Cup Roster.

The finalists are: Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley IIIJaylen Brown, De’Aaron Fox, Joe HarrisKyle Kuzma, Brook LopezKyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Mason Plumlee, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, P.J. TuckerMyles Turner, Kemba Walker, and Derrick White.

As we relayed on Thursday, USA head coach Gregg Popovich plans to take 15 players to Australia later this month for an exhibition in lieu of immediately cutting down the roster to the tournament requirement of 12. FIBA regulations state that teams can only carry 12 players for the World Cup itself, though the remaining players can attend with the coaching staff and not suit up.

The current plan is for Team USA to reconvene in Los Angeles this coming week and begin to finalize the roster before the team leaves for China.

World Cup Notes: Team USA, White, Young

Head coach Gregg Popovich is strongly considering taking 15 players to Australia later this month in advance of the World Cup as opposed to cutting the roster down to a dozen players prior to leaving the country, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. FIBA regulations state that teams can only carry 12 players for the World Cup itself, though the remaining players could simply attend alongside the coaching staff and never suit up.

Here’s more surrounding the World Cup:

  • Spurs guard Derrick White and Kings big man Marvin Bagley III are the strongest contenders to be promoted from the Select Team to Team USA’s primary World Cup roster, tweets Stein. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher suggests (via Instagram) that White’s promotion has already happened, while Bagley’s is likely.
  • Mitchell Robinson is dealing with a knee injury, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The Knicks center initially suffered the injury over the weekend and returned to practice on Tuesday and re-injured it the following day. A source close to the situation describes the ailment as “just soreness.”
  • Hawks guard Trae Young left Team USA’s training camp because of a minor eye infection, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Young had been practicing with the Select Team.
  • Chris Boucher has withdrawn from the World Cup for personal reasons, Josh Lewenberg of the TSN tweets. The Raptors big man had been practicing with Canada’s National Team.