After accepting a late invitation to participate in Team USA training camp, Heat center Bam Adebayo will not play in the FIBA World Cup.
Adebayo was informed Friday night that he was cut from the national team, as Team USA wrapped up a week of training camp in Las Vegas. Just before receiving the news, Adebayo finished Friday’s Blue-White intrasquad scrimmage with three points, two rebounds, one assist and two steals in 10 minutes, 45 seconds of playing time.
Bulls forward Thaddeus Young also did not make the cut, with Team USA moving to Los Angeles to resume camp next week. USA Basketball is working to trim the roster to the 12 players who will represent the country at the World Cup, which will be held in China.
“We’re going to be patient with the rest of the squad because we have plenty of time, we have two weeks to decide who will be the final 12,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Men’s National Team managing director. “Forty-eight hours before Game 1 in China is when we have to submit a roster so we want to make sure everyone gets a real shot.
“There’s some things we like about every one of the players but how do we come to 12? We don’t have to make the decision now and we want to give everyone a real shot.”
The list of Team USA players still in contention for the 12 World Cup roster spots includes 17: Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum from the Celtics; Kyle Lowry from the Raptors; Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez from the Bucks; Harrison Barnes from the Kings; Kyle Kuzma from the Lakers; Donovan Mitchell from the Jazz; P.J. Tucker from the Rockets; Myles Turner from the Pacers, Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox from the Kings; Joe Harris from the Nets; Derrick White from the Spurs; and Mason Plumlee from the Nuggets.
“It would mean a great deal for me and the organization,” Adebayo said last week when asked about the possibility of earning a spot on USA’s 12-man roster. “They haven’t had a player out there since LeBron [James] and D-Wade.”
“Just going out there and being able to wear [USA] across my chest is a great experience for me. And I think my mom might come to China. So it’ll be a great experience for her to travel the world a little bit.”
It just never got that far for Adebayo, which leaves fellow big man Kelly Olynyk as the only Heat player set to participate in the World Cup. Olynyk, a member of Canada’s national team, is taking a week off after suffering a bruised knee Wednesday in a FIBA exhibition game, but he’s still expected play in the World Cup.
Adebayo, who is entering his third NBA season, averaged 8.9 points on 57.6 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 23.3 minutes while playing in all 82 of the Heat’s games last season. With Miami trading center Hassan Whiteside to Portland last month as part of the four-team Jimmy Butler deal, Adebayo is expected to be the Heat’s starting center.
The World Cup will be held in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15. The United States opens the World Cup against the Czech Republic in Shanghai on Sept. 1.