Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook has withdrawn his name from Team USA for the upcoming basketball World Cup in Spain.
Westbrook has previously played in the 2010 and 2012 teams but will not participate this time around, opening up the roster spot for another player to have the experience.
Russ has struggled over the past season and a half with a number of knee surgeries, and it might be the smartest move for him to work on getting his body right for the upcoming NBA season, rather than subject himself to a training camp in July lasting over two months.
Westbrook will therefore sit out the subsequent exhibition tour in August and the actual world cup in September, but hopes to still play in the 2016 Olympics.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had to play nearly half last season without Westbrook in the lineup as he had a couple of procedures to repair meniscus damage to his knee. When Russ returned, it took just a month or so for him to find his feet and he was an integral part of the Thunder’s playoff run.
Using this off-season period to get his body right while resting and preparing for the 2014-15 NBA season will no doubt appease OKC’s fans. While Kevin Durant put together an MVP season, the Thunder always looked much more dangerous with the dynamic tandem on court together.
This move suggests Westbrook is fully focused on the upcoming NBA season, his health and helping the Oklahoma City Thunder return to the NBA Finals.