According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell has been invited to USA Basketball’s training camp ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. The camp is in August, with the World Cup running from August 31st-September 15th.
Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell and Denver Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee have been added onto USA Basketball’s training camp roster for World Cup.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 25, 2019
Harrell would join Clipper teammate Landry Shamet in Team USA’s training camp.
It’s unclear how good of a chance each player has to make the final 12-man roster for the World Cup, as the player pool for the U.S. is murky at best with most of the original 20-player training camp pool declining their invitations to focus on injury recovery or preparation for the upcoming NBA season.
According to Charania, Harrell may also be opting to decline his invitation:
Sources: Clippers center/forward Montrezl Harrell is appreciative of invitation for USA Basketball's World Cup training camp -- but he is unlikely to attend due to scheduling and upcoming NBA season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 25, 2019
The decision to pass makes a lot of sense—the World Cup runs right up against training camp, resulting in increased fatigue during the season. It’s also an injury concern, as even a minor injury like a sprained ankle in international play could cause players to miss training camp with their NBA team. Harrell is also entering a contract year, where he is hoping to double or even triple his $6M salary in free agency next summer. Is showcasing himself for Team USA worth it, or will teams dismiss performances against weaker international squads and put full stock in his upcoming performance in the NBA season? There’s also a question of roster and role: is it worth going to camp if he doesn’t think he will make the team? Is it worth being on the team and missing a month of summer if he isn’t going to play much? For many players this summer, the answers to these questions have been no.
I would argue, however, that for younger, less proven players like Harrell and Shamet, appearing at the senior national team level would be an excellent opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of the whole world, as well as spend a month with a collection of the top coaches and players the United States has to offer. Clippers fans should hope that both are able to make the roster, as several players in the past have cited Team USA as a major catalyst in their development.
Mfiondu Kabengele (Canada) and Maurice Harkless (Puerto Rico) are also candidates to appear in this year’s World Cup. Kabengele is on the fringe of Canada’s roster, but was invited to their camp and benefits from Tristan Thompson’s decision to withdraw. Harkless’ roster spot should be waiting for him if he chooses to participate. Recent Clippers Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Danilo Gallinari (Italy), and Angel Delgado (Dominican Republic) could also make appearances.