Oklahoma City Thunder and USA guard Russell Westbrook has ruled himself out of this summer’s FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
Westbrook, who won the world championship in 2010 has chosen to rest for the summer after he missed a chunk of last season with knee injuries.
“I have received confirmation from Russell that he will not be participating in this summer’s USA Basketball Men’s National Team training and the World Cup due to his need to rest,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement Tuesday.
“We’ve been communicating with Russell since the Thunder’s season ended and we’ve known this was a possibility.
“As much as we would love to have him this summer and as much as he’d like to play for the United States this summer, this is the right decision.”
In Westbrook’s absence, Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is expected to fight for his spot with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers vying for it as well.
Tournament favourites USA will be housed in Bilbao for the group stages of this summer’s World Cup, where they will face Finland, Ukraine, Turkey, Dominican Republic and New Zealand in Group C.
The process we’re going through, to finalise this summer’s roster, is no different than other summers,” Colangelo said.
“As I’ve said previously, our roster is fluid and based on the circumstances of our players you will see the addition of players as they emerge and as they are needed.”