Rockets superstar James Harden told Gregg Popovich, the coach of the USA Basketball national team, that he will not participate in the upcoming USA training camp or the FIBA World Cup in China, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Harden reportedly wants to prepare for the Rockets' season instead, during which he will play alongside former Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook, who was traded from Oklahoma City to Houston this offseason.
Westbrook was traded to the Rockets on July 11 in exchange for nine-time All-Star Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025. Harden was reportedly vocal about wanting to team up with Westbrook once again and was a "driving force" behind Houston's pursuit.
Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons are among other NBA stars who have also announced that they will not be playing in the World Cup, which will take place from Aug. 31 until Sept. 15 and will serve as the qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics.