Rockets' James Harden withdraws from playing for United States national team in FIBA World Cup, per report
The Houston Rockets star wants to use the time to gel with his new teammate Russell Westbrook
James Harden is already focused on the 2019-20 season.
According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Harden is withdrawing from the United State national team that will be competing in the FIBA World Cup in China next month. The Houston Rockets star guard is taking the time to get to know his new teammate Russell Westbrook.
Rockets guard James Harden will not return to the FIBA World Cup after all.
Harden said Friday he has told Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the coach of the USA Basketball Senior National team, that he would not join the team in Las Vegas next month for training camp or play in the World Cup in China.
Speaking at an event on Friday to donate shoes and other sporting goods to children from the Greater Houston Police Activities League, Harden said he wanted to spend the remainder of the offseason to focus on preparing for the retooled Rockets.
Harden is preparing for the season and getting accustomed to playing alongside Westbrook. However, the two do have a history together as they teamed up during Harden's first three NBA seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Earlier this month, the Rockets went out and acquired Westbrook in a blockbuster trade that sent Chris Paul to the Thunder.
Harden is coming off a campaign in which he put together averages of 36.1 points, 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 36.8 percent from deep. For the second consecutive season, the Houston guard was a finalist for the MVP Award after winning it for his performance during the 2017-18 season.
It appears that Harden is very confident of his team's chances of making a run at the NBA title this coming season. In a recent interview, Harden admitted that he"very, very soon." Harden was introduced as a part-owner of the Houston Dynamo, who play in Major League Soccer.
"This is my city and I'm here to stay," Harden said. "I know I need to bring a championship in basketball and I will. That's coming very, very soon. Just had to show my appreciation and let you guys know that I'm a part of this city and I'm here forever."
The NBA landscape should be wide open with the Golden State Warriors losing Kevin Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets. The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers figure to be Houston's biggest competition in the Western Conference.
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