In addition, No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson plans to skip taking part in Team USA training camp playing for the Select Team, sources said. The Select Team is a roster of younger players who help prepare the senior team. Williamson is focusing on preparing for training camp.
Beal is expecting his second son during World Cup preparation and competition, which led to the decision, agent Mark Bartelstein said. Harris plans to focus on his upcoming season with the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Torell Harris said.
Stars Kevin Love and Damian Lillard are on the roster but haven’t yet reached a final decision, Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN. All-Star guard Kemba Walker remains committed to the team, agent Jeff Schwartz said. Guard Kyle Lowry had surgery on his thumb last week but plans to play, sources said.
In recent days, Team USA has made contact with a number of possible replacement players including Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon. Colangelo said he hopes to have a firm grasp on who is officially in the next several days.
Training camp starts Aug. 5 in Las Vegas. The official, 12-member roster will be announced on Aug. 17.
There have been six players who have withdrawn from coach Gregg Popovich’s roster in the last two weeks. Joining Beal and Harris in pulling out have been Anthony Davis, James Harden, Eric Gordon and C.J. McCollum.
“History would indicate this is nothing new, this is part of our process,” said Colangelo, who noted that the team had 12 new players for the 2010 World Cup in Turkey and 11 new players for the last World Cup in Spain in 2014. “We’re blessed with a lot of talents and we’re very deep. We’ll take the cards that we are dealt.”
The event runs from Sept. 1-15 but Team USA is spending a week in Australia playing exhibition games before going to Asia. The Americans open with the Czech Republic in Shanghai on Sept. 1.
Agents and sources close to players describe two primary reasons players have been withdrawing. One is the change in the World Cup schedule, pushing it back a year so it is only one year removed from the Olympics, which requires players to give up time in consecutive summers. Second, the World Cup now ends closer to training camp than in years past as the season has been slightly extended..
The NBA has also increased the number of teams going overseas to start the season. Davis is scheduled to travel to China with the Los Angeles Lakers in October; Harden and Gordon are scheduled to go to Japan with the Houston Rockets in the preseason as well.