World Cup stacked with NBA players

VIDEO: USA tops Puerto Rico in exhibition

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — LeBron James was always taking the summer off from competitive basketball. Kevin Love decided to do the same just before the U.S. National Team opened training camp in Las Vegas last month. But there are still reasons for Cavs fans to watch the FIBA World Cup, which begins Saturday in Spain.

The Cavs are one of two teams that will have four players taking part in the World Cup. Kyrie Irving, of course, will start (at least some games) at point guard for the United States. He’ll face new teammate Erik Murphy, playing for Finland, in the USA’s first pool-play game.

Murphy, who was acquired in a trade from Utah last month, may not necessarily be on the Cavs’ opening-night roster. Only $100,000 of his $816,000 contract is guaranteed, the Cavs are already over the 15-man roster limit, and they’ve yet to sign Shawn Marion.

Irving has already faced Brazil’s Anderson Varejao in an exhibition game. And he could go head-to-head with his Cleveland back-up — Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova — in the knockout round.

The Rockets are the other NBA team that will have four players at the World Cup. James Harden, the Dominican Republic’s Francisco Garcia, Lithuania’s Donatas Motiejunas and Greece’s Kostas Papanikolaou will all represent the Rockets in Spain.

Papanikolaou is one of five incoming rookies at the tournament. The others are the Bulls’ Cameron Bairstow (Australia), the Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia), the Jazz’s Dante Exum (Australia), and the Pacers’ Damjan Rudez (Croatia).

Croatia’s Bogdanovic is not to be confused with Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was selected in this year’s Draft by the Suns and will play at least two years in Turkey before coming to the NBA. The Serbian Bogdanovic is one of six guys taken in the last two drafts who has yet to come over.

The others are Alex Abrines (OKC, Spain), Arselan Kazemi (PHI, Iran), Joffrey Lauvergne (DEN, France), Raul Neto (UTA, Brazil) and Dario Saric (PHI, Croatia).

Including Abrines, 11 of the 12 players on Spain’s roster will have NBA ties. They have six current NBA players, three former NBA players, and two guys — Abrines and Sergio Llull (Houston) — whose draft rights are held by NBA teams.

There are four free agents who could use the World Cup as an audition for teams looking to make a late addition to their roster. They include Mexico’s Gustavo Ayon and Andray Blatche, who will be playing for the Philippines.

With the four free agents and 46 guys under contract, there will be a total of 50 current NBA players, representing 23 different teams and 18 different countries, at the World Cup, unless there’s an unexpected roster change in the next four days. And there will be more in Group A, representing Brazil (4), France, (5) Serbia (1) and Spain (6), than in the USA’s Group C (12 from the U.S. and one each from the Dominican Republic, Finland and Turkey).

There are also more than 20 former NBA players on World Cup rosters, including international legend Juan Carlos Navarro (Spain), familiar guys like Carlos Arroyo (Puerto Rico), Rudy Fernandez (Spain), Nenad Krstic (Serbia) and Andres Nocioni (Argentina), and more obscure names (for NBA fans, at least) like David Andersen (Australia), Walter Herrmann (Argentina), Nathan Jawai (Australia) and Damir Markota (Croatia).

Here’s the full list, with final World Cup rosters not due until Friday…

Current NBA players on World Cup rosters

NBA Player Country
Brooklyn Bojan Bogdanovic Croatia
Brooklyn Jorge Gutierrez Mexico
Brooklyn Mason Plumlee USA
Chicago Cameron Bairstow Australia
Chicago Pau Gasol Spain
Chicago Derrick Rose USA
Cleveland Matthew Dellavedova Australia
Cleveland Kyrie Irving USA
Cleveland Erik Murphy Finland
Cleveland Anderson Varejao Brazil
Denver Kenneth Faried USA
Detroit Andre Drummond USA
Golden State Stephen Curry USA
Golden State Klay Thompson USA
Houston Francisco Garcia Dominican Rep.
Houston James Harden USA
Houston Donatas Motiejunas Lithuania
Houston Kostas Papanikolaou Greece
Indiana Ian Mahinmi France
Indiana Damjan Rudez Croatia
Indiana Luis Scola Argentina
Los Angeles Clippers Miroslav Raduljica Serbia
Memphis Nick Calathes Greece
Memphis Marc Gasol Spain
Milwaukee Giannis Antetokounmpo Greece
Minnesota JJ Barea Puerto Rico
Minnesota Gorgui Dieng Senegal
Minnesota Ricky Rubio Spain
New Orleans Omer Asik Turkey
New Orleans Anthony Davis USA
New York Jose Calderon Spain
New York Pablo Prigioni Argentina
Oklahoma City Serge Ibaka Spain
Orlando Evan Fournier France
Phoenix Goran Dragic Slovenia
Portland Nicolas Batum France
Portland Victor Claver Spain
Sacramento DeMarcus Cousins USA
Sacramento Rudy Gay USA
San Antonio Boris Diaw France
San Antonio Tiago Splitter Brazil
Toronto DeMar DeRozan USA
Toronto Jonas Valanciunas Lithuania
Utah Dante Exum Australia
Utah Rudy Gobert France
Washington Nene Brazil
Unrestricted free agent Gustavo Ayon Mexico
Unrestricted free agent Leandro Barbosa Brazil
Restricted free agent Aron Baynes Australia
Unrestricted free agent Andray Blatche Philippines


  1. jerry doydora says:

    #LabanPilipinas! PuSO… d best point guard in Asia.. Go Jayson Williams Castro! LabanGilas!

  2. Kane says:

    The Jazz just signed a second Australian player overnight Brock Motum!

  3. mau_ako says:

    if only Jordan Clarkson and Aaron Craft could play for the Philippines. Great Back court…

  4. Raptor says:

    Win at least two in the 1st round PHI…then we’ll shock them all…hehehe

  5. Billy says:

    What about Dietzman Grosshaubt from Liechtenstein?
    I think he is one NBA addition to watch this year.
    Go Liechtenstein!!!!

  6. Kiwi says:

    New Zealand reckon they can take out this tournament without the help of OKC’s Steven Adams. They will have the help of Kirk Penney, who played some regular season games for the Clippers. Look for him to be in the top ten in PPG at this tournament.

  7. Adrian H. says:

    What about Gigi Datome from Detroit

  8. D Cousins says:

    D, Cousins really is bad. I am not sure how they could look at this guy and want him on the team as a big man. He can hardly post up, pushes all the time, and appears just fat and lazy.

    I would much rather see them bring in some other big men who can hold their own against Gasol and company and any other bigs. Having this round mound of too many pounds is not good for USA.

  9. andresteodoro says:

    lakers shud consider andray blatche at center because he is doing well in the philippine team for world cup spain…. he is shooting three now and he is honestly good in the tune up games in spain and france….just a thought for laker fans

  10. coopdog says:

    George and Durant absence would cost the US the championship. Spain will come on top….period!

  11. Aleksis Pelli says:

    You forgot one former, major NBA-contributor, Hanno Möttölä (FIN).

  12. jOHN says:

    Where is RENALDO BALKMAN?? -_-

    • andresteodoro says:

      that guy is hell stupid when he played in the PBA philippines for a SAN MIGUEL BEER-PETRON GAS CORP Philippines team . he choked his own team mate in an actual live game broadcast in the whole phil Islands…..barbaric in a sense you shud not hurt ur own team mate that was actually protecting him from a potential fight with the other team’s players and his team mate was smaller and slimmer than him……He is banned in playing any basketball league the philippines….i dont want to see him playing for puerto rico coz he might choke carlos arroyo for being fancy dribbler…..

  13. I think USA is going to dominate, easily

  14. johnlpoetry says:

    USA will still win handily. Spain? Get real people! Just look at the the amount of players that made the All Star team or All Pro teams. Nuff said.

  15. Steve says:

    Australia looking good!

  16. Jojo says:

    Spain it’s having all stars playing this very interesting between US Team.

  17. trullols says:

    Don’t forget Spain. Gasol & Gasol, Ibaka, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderón, the European MVP and Ex-NBA Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, etc etc.
    USA must fight hard to win, no doubt.

  18. john says:

    Yow you Shoeman!. .. You forgot Goran Dragic!

  19. dhrewzkie durant says:


  20. Jed says:

    Wow! Philippines is the only asian country on the list!

  21. Nothing2Lose says:

    Lets go Philippines! We’re not as strong as Spain and USA, just play with all of your heart and we will be fine. Win or Lose we’re proud of Team Pilipinas

  22. mike jordan says:

    blatche to the lakers could be good

  23. Kelinda says:

    croatia will win this thing! Šarić,Rudež,Bogdanović etc..
    croatian basketball is comin’ back!!!!! ’bout damn time if you ask me 😉

  24. Ryan41 says:

    I hope the Dallas Mavericks will get Barbosa and Andray Blatche..They could surely help build up the size and speed of the team.

  25. Spain is gonna be the champion this year! haha

  26. ChrisTx says:

    You all forgot Aaron Baynes for Australia currently playing for the Spurs and is a World Champion!

  27. harriethehawk says:

    Did Miami pick up Barbosa yet? I guess the Hawks don’t want Gustavo Ayon back. He was hurt for most of the season.

  28. Man says:

    yep that is true

  29. Scott Tha Man says:

    Spain is gonna cause some issues!!!!