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Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge withdraw from USA Basketball consideration

Jul 17, 2014, 9:03 PM EDT

Kawhi Leonard Kawhi Leonard

When USA Basketball released its 19-man pool of players that would be contending for a spot to play in the World Championships this summer, a couple of names that were left off the list weren’t done so as a result of a decision made by Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski.

Instead, two All-Star caliber players voluntarily withdrew from consideration.

Kawhi Leonard is coming off of winning a Finals MVP and playing deep into June in consecutive seasons, and he cited seeing how fatigued his international teammates were following similar duties as his reason for bowing out at this time.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

Watching the struggles teammate Tony Parker experienced during the 2013-14 Spurs season after competing for the French national team in last summer’s Eurobasket tournament, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard made what he called a very difficult decision to withdraw from competition for a spot on the United States team that will compete in the FIBA World Cup in Spain later this summer.

“I went through those two seasons going down to June 20,” Leonard said. “That’s tough on your body to keep going. I’m just learning from Tony and Manu (Ginobili), just going into that off-season and playing so hard and then coming back and their bodies not feeling the same and then being tired for the regular season. So I’m just learning from them.”

LaMarcus Aldridge also withdrew, but for no similarly good reason other than to rest this summer in preparation for the upcoming season.

From Eric Gundersen of The Columbian:

A source confirms that Aldridge was initially invited to the 19-player pool but withdrew his name. …

“We can only offer an opportunity,” Colangelo said in a conference call Monday morning, “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.”

There’s nothing wrong with Aldridge bowing out, and looking at the pool of players who will be competing, it’s unlikely he would have made it anyway, and would have had to attend a mini-camp later this month had he left himself in the running for a spot on the roster.

Colangelo believes that playing for Team USA is the most important thing in the world, which explains his making a remark that seems to be dripping with disappointment. But it’s clear that some players don’t exactly see things the same way.

  1. csbanter - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    Kudos to them for not being exploited by USA Basketball and its sponsors. Leonard has something all those other Team USA fools don’t. He has a title and finals MVP.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      That’s ridiculous. Most Americans would do anything for the opportunity to represent their country. Leonard is young, he can handle it.

      He’s not going to learn anything about American patriotism from a Frenchman.

      • savvybynature - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        Yeah, the French have always made terrible American patriots, just ask Paul Revere.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:34 PM

        Marquis de Lafayette would’ve been more appropriate. But it’s not 1780 any longer.

      • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        antistratfordian, you better watch your mouth. If I hack your account and learn your real name, I can report you and you’ll have your green card revoked and you’ll be deported.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        Huh? Green card? I don’t need no stinkin’ green card. Your boy Anti is an American citizen.

      • robigd - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        You still mad about the finals? You think Tim will get a thumb ring or just start on his other hand?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        Did they give out rings for the asterisk one? I thought they just got pins.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:02 AM

        America…..f yeah! Coming again to save the mother f n daaaayyy!

      • robigd - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        So, do the Heat get an asterisks for winning during the lockout year of 2011 or does that only apply to the Spurs?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        The asterisk isn’t because of the lockout. It’s because Reinsdorf wouldn’t let the Bulls go for 4 in a row when all of them wanted to. They would’ve won it again in 1999. Who thinks they wouldn’t have?

        That’s what Jackson means when he talks about an asterisk.

      • robigd - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        My God. You can’t believe the stuff that comes out of your mouth can you?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        I’m just telling you what Phil Jackson said. Chill.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      Leonard has missed a combined 40 games the past two seasons, 16 this year and 24 last. When he says he needs the rest he is just being honest.

  2. urallstupid - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    i think competing everyday in camp with the best in the world is better than doing your own private workouts. that’ll probably get you ready for the season better than anything else.

  3. thenewyorker718 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Aldridge not likely to make the team? You’re crazy , he’s a beast top 2 pf’s out there . I think Kawhi woulda been fine by regular season but it’s his decision you have to respect the finals MVP .

  4. lakerade - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    Two guys putting their NBA careers first, totally acceptable. While playing for Team USA does boost profile and networking, thus improving brand, it will always only be truly worthwhile when complementary to NBA success. Kudos to them for maintaining focus on the main goal instead of chasing the allure of self-promotion via presumed patriotism.

  5. aldavis4president - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    Lamarcus Aldridge is top 3 of easily!! You got Blake, love, eyebrows, bosh and a few others. Lamarcus is better overall than everyone I just said.

  6. azarkhan - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    “Colangelo believes that playing for Team USA is the most important thing in the world…”

    How much does Team USA pay players compared to NBA teams? Exactly. The players have an obligation to be in the best condition possible for their NBA teams at the start of the season because it is their NBA team that is on the hook for those guaranteed multimillion dollar per year contracts, not Team USA.

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