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Knicks forward Randle leaves USA World Cup squad

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by Agence France-Presse

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle became on Saturday the latest NBA playmaker to leave the USA national team preparing for the Basketball World Cup, citing a family matter.

The move follows exits by many of the NBA’s top stars, including Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis and James Harden as the Americans try to assemble a squad that can seek a third consecutive world title at the global hoops showdown in China, which starts on August 31.

The 15 players remaining in the US provisional lineup will gather Monday in Las Vegas for a five-day training camp. A final 12-man roster is expected to be announced in two weeks.

The US team looks likely to have a Boston Celtics flavor with guard Kemba Walker, the only US NBA All-Star in the mix, joined by Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum.

Other NBA players competing for a US World Cup spot include Sacramento King’s Harrison Barnes, Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, Toronto Raptor’s Kyle Lowry, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton, Denver Nugget’s Mason Plumlee, Houston’s P.J. Tucker, Indiana Pacer’s Myles Turner and Chicago Bull’s Thaddeus Young.

Lowry helped the Raptors with the NBA title in June. He and Barnes were also members of the Rio Olympic gold medal squad.

Randle, 24, averaged a career-high 21.4 points with 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season for New Orleans in his fifth NBA campaign, having previously spent four years with the Los Angeles Lakers.