Team USA: Russell Westbrook Opts Out, DeMarcus Cousins Offered Spot In 2016 Olympics

Team USA news has Russell Westbrook opting out from the 2016 Olympics. Westbrook won’t join Team USA when it travels to play in Rio de Janeiro this summer. A report from CBS Sports notes that the list of players opting out from Team USA has been growing over the past week. Stephen Curry (knee), Chris Paul (hand), Anthony Davis (shoulder), and LaMarcus Aldridge (finger) have already stated that they will miss the 2016 Olympics due to injuries.

A report from Sports Illustrated just came out as well, stating that James Harden had also withdrawn from playing for Team USA this summer. Though Harden did not give a specific reason why he was deciding to opt out of the 2016 Olympics, he did release an in-depth statement. The statement talked up the team and the opportunity, but never really addressed why he had reached this decision.

“As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil. This decision was a painstaking one that I did not take lightly. As a member of the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Team, and as team Captain for the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal Team, it goes without saying that USA Basketball has provided me with some of the most meaningful personal and professional accomplishments of my life.”

James Harden With Team USA
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Suddenly the group of players that Team USA has to choose from has dwindled quite a bit. In addition to the players who have simply decided not to participate, previous announcements were made by Blake Griffin and John Wall that they would not be traveling to Brazil either. This has opened up the roster for more younger players to join Team USA, possibly marking the first time many of them have participated in the Olympics.

A report from USA Today is stating that center DeMarcus Cousins has now been given a spot on the team. This will give the team a lot of additional size, continuing his play for Team USA. Cousins was with the United States during the 2014 World Cup, averaging 9.8 points and 5.7 rebounds over nine games. He helped Team USA to a championship over Serbia and will be even more valuable with players like Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis opting out.

USA Today also reported that Draymond Green will play for the United States if he is asked to play this summer. As for other players currently in the NBA Finals, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have stated that they will wait to make final decisions until after the championship series. The Cleveland Cavaliers currently trail the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the series, so those announcements could be coming very soon.

There are a number of other NBA players who participated in the 2014 World Cup who could make the trip to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics. Those members of Team USA include Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kenneth Faried, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, Mason Plumlee, and Andre Drummond. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard had been cut from the team before it traveled, so he could potentially get invited for the 2016 team now that several roster slots have opened.

Team USA In Spain
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The 2016 Summer Olympics run from August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro. It gives very little time for the United States to put together a 12-man roster and get in practices before the travel takes place. It is expected that the full roster for Team USA will get announced toward the end of June and that the team will then schedule practices and exhibition games during the month of July. That gives the coaches a lot of time to put together a competitive roster.

[Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images]

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