At this point, Damian Lillard has to feel incredibly jerked around by USA Basketball. After he was cut from the team ahead of 2014’s FIBA World Cup, he said he “doesn’t feel like a part of” the program. He was eventually added to the roster for last year’s minicamp in Las Vegas, and after an exodus of guards from the Rio Olympics (including Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and James Harden), it seemed more likely that Lillard would finally get a chance to play for the national team.
Not so, according to The Vertical‘s Shams Charania, who reports that Lillard will sit out to rehab a case of plantar fasciitis:
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard won’t play for Team USA in the Rio Olympic games this summer as he continues to rehab from plantar fasciitis, league sources told The Vertical.
Lillard had been leaning toward not playing in the Olympics because of ongoing treatment on his foot, which was injured during the regular season.
USA Today‘s Sam Amick makes it seem less open and shut, and apparently Lillard would be open to playing if he didn’t have to make a decision right now — just another issue in the relationship between him and USA Basketball.
As of now, the only point guards on the USA roster are Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry, and there’s still plenty of time for one of them to pull out. Lillard may still wind up on the team, but at this point, it would be hard to blame him if he just decided he was done with them.