Chris Paul and Blake Griffin decided to forgo this year's Olympics. Blake needs to make sure his quad is ready for the season, while Chris needs to let his hand heal - and could probably use the extra rest regardless of the hand. Neither are necessarily old but they are at the point in their careers during which they need to manage the miles they put on their bodies. (DeAndre Jordan remains on the Team USA roster for now.)
Apparently, they are not the only ones that would like the time off:
NBA All-Star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook have notified USA Basketball that they will not participate in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
They join NBA MVP Stephen Curry this week on a growing list of players, which includes the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, who have decided to stay home this summer. -- Dan Loumena, Los Angeles Times
It is too soon to tell if this will be a trend for Olympic basketball going forward but it might not be a bad thing if it is. The NBA is a very deep league, which means that although James Harden cannot play, we might get a chance to see a player like Bradley Beal get more playing time on such a big stage.
But, of course, if the level of play drops off too much, Team USA fans will not be happy. Not only do we expect the Gold Medal but also dominate play.
As far as the Olympic Games as a whole, I think we might be seeing a general dissipation of interest. This year has been an unfortunately clear example that the Olympics bring about many political, economic, and even health concerns. At some point, we might have to keep the Games in one, consistent place to avoid the inevitable cycle of corruption and worry around the planning of the games.