Harden passes on World Cup, to focus on Rockets

James Harden has decided to withdraw from playing with the U.S. National Team at this summer’s FIBA World Cup in China.

Harden is the second top player to pull out of a previous commitment to Team USA in the last week, joining Anthony Davis.

Harden told the Houston Chronicle on Friday that he had advised coach Gregg Popovich of his decision and that he’d use the extra time to focus on adapting to playing with new Rockets teammate Russell Westbrook.

Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry had surgery on his thumb this week in New York, but he is hoping to recover in time to play with the team.

The team’s current roster has depth at guard with All-Stars Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and Bradley Beal among those still committed.

The event runs from Sept. 1-15 at various cities in China. The tournament runs closer to training camps than it had been in years past.

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