The next United States men’s basketball team might have a green hue.
Four Boston Celtics players are among the NBA stars USA Basketball is considering inviting to its pre-FIBA World Cup training camp. Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum were on the original training-camp roster, and the recent withdrawals of five of the initial 20-players has created potential national-team opportunities for Celtics guards Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn last week the Brown is on USA’s “short list” of potential replacements. Smart also is under USA’s consideration, depending on whether Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard declines to pursue a World Cup roster spot, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.
Walker intends to attend the national-team training camp and compete for a roster spot, The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported Monday, citing NBA sources.
USA’s training camp will take place between Aug. 5 and 8 in Las Vegas. USA Basketball will name finalists for the World Cup squad, and that group will have another camp between Aug. 13 and 15. Head coach Gregg Popovich will announce his final 12-player World Cup squad Aug. 17.
The World Cup will take place between Aug. 31 and Sept. 15 in China. USA is seeking its third consecutive world championship.
Should Walker, Tatum and perhaps Brown and Smart all make the final cut, the Celtics will comprise one-third of the national team roster.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images