After making a surprise appearance in Las Vegas to support the Los Angeles Lakers at summer league, LeBron James will not participate in the Team USA minicamp at UNLV next week, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
James was one of 35 players invited to the camp, which will give the coaching staff an idea of the 12 players that will be playing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will make his official debut as the national team head coach in China.
James has appeared in three Olympics where he’s won a bronze medal and two gold medals, including a gold medal with the “redeem team” in 2008. However, he did not play with the 2016 Olympic team in Brazil.
Does James skipping camp mean he won’t play in either of the two international tournaments? Not necessarily, but at 33 years old, he is more likely to use his summers to recover from a demanding 82-game season than he is to chase gold medals. It’s also not uncommon for star players to skip the preliminary minicamp.
Unfortunately, that does mean fans won’t get to see James on the court until the Lakers’ traning camp in late-September. But if James comes back the player he was last season, like he’s expected to, it will be worth the wait, and he’s wise to be cautious after nearly a decade of Finals appearances to recover from.