What Lillard has done to prepare for Team USA
LAS VEGAS -- Despite a pattern of removing his name from consideration for international competition, the door isn’t completely shut on Portland Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge suiting up for his country in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“It’s not absolutely shut, but it’s premature to talk about the Olympics two years from now when for whatever reason, he turned down another opportunity,” Jerry Colangelo, the director of USA Basketball, told CSNNW.com via phone on Wednesday.
“That’s just reality. I never close the door completely. I keep my options open. It was a surprise that he pulled out, but I never shut the door entirely on anyone.”
A person close to Aldridge informed CSNNW.com that Aldridge withdrew from consideration for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain for rest purposes solely. Nothing more.
Aldridge, who turns 29 in three days, doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to his involvement with the USA Basketball program.
In 2007 he removed himself from the United States Select Team and in 2009 he elected not attend USA Basketball minicamp, a year before the world championship, in which he also retracted himself from the following year. Hip surgery in 2012 kept him from the Olympics in London.
Colangelo is never one to mince words. He admits that Aldridge’s in-and-out cycle will be factored in for 2016 Olympic deliberation, assuming Aldridge wants to partake.
“How could you not take the past into consideration?” Colangelo asked. “That’s reality. I thought he’d be with us. I was a little shocked by the call, but I respect the fact that he made a decision. We just move on from here. But you never know.”
Aldridge’s chances of sporting the red, white and blue in 2016 appear to be slim, but a crack has been left open if he chooses to pursue it.