Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum 'respectfully declined' Team USA invite for Tokyo Olympics

Trail Blazers

The world’s best players will take center stage this summer for the Tokyo Olympics.

In preparation for the Games, Team USA has named 57 finalists for the men’s basketball roster.

As expected, Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard has made the list of top American players. But his backcourt mate, CJ McCollum, was a notable omission, as Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman noted.

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As it turns out, the Trail Blazers guard was invited to be a part of Team USA's roster pool, but he "respectfully declined," as noted in a response to NBCSNW on Thursday night. 

The Trail Blazers guard was having himself and All-Star worthy year before injuring his foot in Portland’s win over Atlanta on Jan. 16. In those 13 games, McCollum was averaging 26.7 points (47.3% FG, 44.1% 3-PT, 84.4% FT), 3.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the Blazers.

McCollum continues to recover from his left foot fracture and is expected to return to the court in the Second Half of the season. The Trail Blazers official Twitter account teased out these photos of McCollum Thursday, one week after he was cleared for contact practice. 

 

It’s worth noting many of Team USA’s top stars could sit out of the Olympics due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. While America hopes to be back to some sort of “normalcy,” by July 4 as President Joe Biden said Thursday, it’s unclear if that same timeline will be met in Tokyo, Japan as the country prepares for the Games.

Other notable names left off the roster pool list include Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Suns forward Mikal Bridges and Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball.