USA Basketball announced on Monday that Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has opted to withdraw from consideration for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Aldridge and teammate Damian Lillard had been both included in a group of roughly 20 players to be considered for the competition, formerly known as the World Championships, which will be held in Spain in September.
Lillard is still committed to competing for a roster spot. This summer's slate begins with a minicamp and exhibition game in Las Vegas later this month, with a tour of multiple states to follow.
Aldridge has previously stated a desire to play for USA Basketball on multiple occasions, only to back out.
Back in January, the Blazers released a statement on behalf of Aldridge confirming his selection to this year's pool.
"I'm truly honored to be selected to the U.S. Men's National Team," said Aldridge. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of making the team and grateful for the opportunity to represent my country."
He had expressed interest in playing in Spain for more than a year.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com reports that USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told reporters on Monday that he was disappointed in the turn of events.
Colangelo didn't expect the guys with multiple Olympic medals to play this summer. And he understands why [Spurs forward Kawhi] Leonard withdrew after a long NBA season. But it was clear on Monday that he was disappointed with another "no thanks" from Aldridge.
"We can only offer an opportunity," Colangelo said, "and then they can either accept or not. In Aldridge's case, this has happened a couple of times previously. But the bottom line is he advised us that he's not available."
Aldridge, 28, is entering a contract year in 2014-15 after deciding not to sign a contract extension this summer.
As Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com notes, this decision, in conjunction with previous withdrawals, will very likely keep Aldridge from being considered for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Last week, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook withdrew from consideration as well, theoretically improving Lillard's prospects of making the roster cut.
Here's USA Basketball's updated player pool announced with thoughts from both Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Chandler Parsons (Mavericks); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors).
"First off, I'm very pleased about the 19 players who are now confirmed to participate in the 2014 USA National Team training camp in Las Vegas. This group possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting of excellent versatility and varying amounts of USA Basketball experience," said Colangelo, who has seen USA National teams compile a 62-1 record since taking charge of the USA Basketball Men's National Team program in 2005. "I am also pleased about the addition of DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons to the USA National Team and to the 2014 training camp. Both played well in last summer's USA Basketball National Team mini-camp and went on to record outstanding NBA seasons.
"The Las Vegas training camp will be the start of our preparations for the World Cup, so this is a critical time for putting in place the foundation required for this USA Basketball team to be successful like its recent predecessors. This USA team will have a special opportunity to become the first USA team to repeat as world champions."
USA mentor Krzyzewski, who as the USA National Team head coach has compiled a remarkable 43-1 record in official FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions since 2006 and compiled a 19-0 mark in exhibition games, is also impressed by the collection of talents that will compete for a position on the 2014 USA World Cup Team.
"The advantage of having a national team program like we've developed since Jerry took over in 2005 is the incredible depth of talent we can draw from. The commitment we receive from our players continues to amaze me and the fact that all of the players who will be in Las Vegas all have prior USA Basketball experience shows that the USA Basketball pipeline is working. The prior experience these guys have will help us with our continuity and jelling as a team as well.
"Looking at the roster of players who will be participating in the training camp I'm impressed by the success they had this past season and by what they have achieved in their careers. It's valuable to have some veteran leadership who has won gold at the highest levels internationally. The list also includes some of the most exciting young players who could definitely contribute to this team. Myself and the entire coaching staff are excited to get things underway and as we've done each summer our team will strive to represent the United States with respect and a commitment to excellence that hopefully will make every American proud," said Coach K.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter