The player pool for Team USA is getting thinner on its own. Anthony Davis dropped out due to injury, and now Chris Paul is withdrawing his name from consideration for the 2016 Rio Games.
Chris Paul is a two-time gold medal winner, but this summer and beyond, instead of chasing a third gold medal, he has different plans. Via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
After more than a decade of contribution to USA Basketball, Paul told SI.com on Monday that he is withdrawing from consideration for this summer’s Olympic team, likely ending his international career. “I feel my body telling me that I could use the time,” he said. Few NBA players have expended more this season than Paul.
Paul, the best point guard of his generation, has a hard time recalling a summer when he was not either injured, recovering from injury, or playing for Team USA. The Olympics are synonymous with other touchstones in his life. His wife, Jada, became pregnant with their son, Chris Jr., right after the ’08 Olympics and gave birth to their daughter, Camryn, right after the ’12 Games. “Just a few days ago, Little Chris asked me, ‘Daddy, will you play in the Olympics again?’” Paul said. “Part of me wanted to say yes, because he’s never been part of it. But I told him, ‘I want to spend more time with you.’” Paul, a fixture at his son’s Little League complex and basketball gym even during the NBA season, opted to stay home.
So, we have two superstars out of the mix now, but there are still 30, very capable players in the player pool. Chris Paul backing out shouldn’t mean too much in terms of Team USA’s chances to win a gold medal, but it may impact the decision of some other superstars around his age.
Yes, I do mean the likes of LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, etc. Let’s face it, these guys are getting older, and their bodies might not be able to take the beating of a full NBA season, a summer of international play, and then another full season of NBA ball. We’ve seen Melo with injury issues this year, LeBron’s back isn’t getting any younger, and Paul has realized that he probably should take some time off and put his health first.
Will this start and epidemic of all players dropping out for rest? No, probably not, but the ones who are getting around their 30’s will be thinking about it. Either way, we can all trust that Team USA will be in the capable hands of many of the league’s younger superstars.
H/T: CBS Sports