U.S. basketball experiencing withdrawals ahead of World Cup

C.J. McCollum of the Trail Blazers has decided against playing for the U.S. men's basketball team.

On the bright side, U.S. men’s basketball team coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t need to worry so much about making cuts.

On the downside, a lot of that has to do with the fact the players are quitting themselves.

So far, James Harden, Anthony Davis, CJ McCollum Bradley Beal and Eric Gordon have all backed out of commitments to represent the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup, which starts at the end of August in China.

That still leaves 15 players. But Poppovich and his staff — which includes assistants Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce and Jay Wright — thought they would have to cut eight players to get down to the roster of 12.

Now, they only need to cut three.

Along with all that, Kyle Lowry just had surgery on his thumb and may or may not be ready for the start of camp Aug. 5 in Las Vegas.

Members of the actual camp roster aren’t the only ones deciding to rest this summer.

No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson was a member of the Select Team, which will work out against and help prepare the roster for the World Cup. But Williamson has also backed out to focus on the NBA season.

So as of now, the roster is as follows:

Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Kyle Kuzma, Damian Lillard, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Khris Middleton, Paul Millsap, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, Kemba Walker and Lowry.

That is, assuming there are no more defections.

If so, Popovich and the Americans may need to find a few more good men just to get through camp … and perhaps to even assemble a team.