Russell Westbrook has been forced to make a major decision to extend the length of his career. Over the last year or so, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has struggled with injuries, and now they have taken their toll, according to reports.
The OKC star has now decided to back out of the FIBA World Cup in August because he doesn't want to hamper his preparations for the 2014-15 NBA season. The news was broken by Yahoo Sports, who claim he's already withdrawn from the two-month commitment. Russell Westbrook will miss the training camp, August friendly games and the tournament itself.
When you consider the fact that Russell Westbrook had to have three surgeries on his knee this past season, it's hardly a surprise that he's decided to pass up on the opportunity to bring glory to his nation again.
The Thunder guard was crucial to Team USA's success at the FIBA World Cup in 2010 in Turkey, while he also showed his excellence during the Beijing Olympics.
But disappointments for some players mean opportunities for others, and that's exactly what will happen after Westbrook's decision to pull out. Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers will get their opportunity to shine, while Kyrie Irving from Cleveland Cavaliers could get the call up too.
Troubles combining with Durant
Team USA might actually be better off without Westbrook because that's certainly what the Thunder were during the 2013/14 season. There's no doubting the talent of Russ, but it's hard to hide away from the fact that both Durant and OKC played better without Westbrook last season.
Durant's best performances individually came when he was allowed to take the reigns more. There's no doubting that Westbrook was impressive when he returned, but Durant was less effective during the latter part of the season when the two players were back combining with each other.
We'll see how Team USA cope without Westbrook.