NBA’s Fox leaves US squad before pre-World Cup Australia trip
Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox withdrew from the United States national team of NBA talent on Saturday, leaving the Basketball World Cup squad with 13 players as it departed for workouts in Australia.
The 21-year-old guard has averaged 14.6 points, 5.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals a game in two NBA campaigns with the Kings.
His departure, which was not explained by team officials, leaves the Americans one player over the 12-man limit as they prepare for the global showdown in China, where they hope to win a third consecutive crown.
The US lineup lacks many of the league’s superstars such as James Harden and LeBron James but boasts top young talent guided by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Having an extra player is a safeguard against injuries as US guard Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics missed Friday’s 90-81 exhibition triumph over Spain at Anaheim with a calf strain.
Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, a member of the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medal squad, and Boston’s Kemba Walker are among those joining Smart on the trip to Australia.
Other squad members are Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum; Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton; Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Indiana’s Myles Turner, Denver’s Mason Plumlee, San Antonio’s Derrick White and Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Americans will work August 19-24 in Melbourne, with exhibition games there against Australia on Thursday and Saturday, then work August 25-28 at Sydney with an August 26 matchup there against Canada.