James Harden won’t play for Team USA at FIBA World Cup

Team USA has lost its marquee player for this year’s FIBA World Cup, with James Harden saying Friday he has withdrawn from the team.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Harden said he has already informed U.S. coach Gregg Popovich about his decision, which will free up much of the former NBA MVP’s August and early September and allow him to focus on getting to know his new Rockets teammates.

Harden’s withdrawal comes shortly after Anthony Davis did the same, leaving Popovich without most of the elite American-born NBA players for the tournament. The likes of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving already declined an opportunity to participate for a variety of reasons.

The star power among the remaining 18 players scheduled to attend training camp in Las Vegas next month rests mostly in the backcourt, led by Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and Bradley Beal.

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