USA Basketball announced their 28-player pool for the next three summers on Thursday, and injured Bulls star Derrick Rose is on the list (so is Kyle Korver!).
Team USA's next competition is the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, which runs from Aug. 30-Sept. 14. So will Rose participate?
Obviously, Rose's meniscus injury complicates things. He showed a hesitancy to participate in competitive hoops outside of Bulls practices while rehabbing his ACL, although USA Basketball is clearly much more structured than any type of pickup games he declined to play in. And the meniscus injury is much less severe than an ACL injury.
Here's what Rose said about the possibility playing this summer back on Dec. 5, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
"I haven't really thought about it," Rose said on Dec. 5, his only comments since suffering a torn right meniscus that required season-ending surgery. "That would be a good idea, but if I'm not ready, there's no need."
Barring any type of setback, there's absolutely zero reason Rose shouldn't be ready by the time the World Cup rolls around in late August. That will be around nine months after surgery, but then again, we all know what happened with his ACL recovery.
However, Rose released a stronger statement indicating his desire to play in Spain on Thursday:
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the court this summer and having the chance to represent our country," Rose said. "It's an honor to play for Team USA and Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski)."
Of course, Rose saying he wants to play doesn't automatically mean he's going to play. Yes, he was a big part of the 2010 FIBA World Championships squad, but that means squat now given his knee issues. There are several other point guards in play, and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if Rose didn't make the team this summer because of that fact and because he barely played this season. Rose would still likely be working the kinks out, and USA Basketball might not want to deal with that. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called Rose "a big variable" on Thursday.
Rob Mahoney over at Sports Illustrated's Point Forward took a look at a hypothetical roster for the World Cup, and at the guard position, he had Stephen Curry, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. If you're wondering why Chris Paul isn't listed, it's because the decision has already been made that he won't play.
There are obviously some question marks with a few of those players. Westbrook is dealing with knee issues of his own, while Williams has had ongoing ankle problems. Perhaps one or both of them don't play this summer. But then Kyrie Irving is an option as well, and although he hasn't lived up to the hype this year, I'd probably still take him over Rose this summer barring an injury. Curry and Lillard are no-brainers.
Tom Thibodeau, one of Coach K's assistants for Team USA, is sure to lobby hard for Rose and has already endorsed his participation if healthy:
"I'm hopeful that he will participate," Thibodeau said Wednesday night in Cleveland. "But a lot depends on where his health is. But I thought it was a great experience for him in the past. I know how much he enjoyed it. I know how USA Basketball feels about him. I think it's a great honor and a privilege. Hopefully, it will work out."
I certainly would love for Rose to play in the World Cup, just so he can get some real competitive basketball under his belt before the next NBA season rolls around. He certainly could use it considering his lack of 5-of-5 action over the past few years.
In other Rose "news," he has been shooting on the court before games. LET D-ROSE RETURN WATCH BEGIN! (via @BeyondTheBuzzer):
Ok, yeah, Rose isn't jumping on these shots. So basically a whole bunch of nothing. I did get a good chuckle out of the Rose video taken by the Sun-Times, which was kind of like some grainy Big Foot shit. I also laughed at the blurb accompanying the video, which said that we shouldn't expect Rose back this season simply based on how he looked in the video. Fun times.