The Chicago Tribune reports: Hinrich was a somewhat reluctant participant from the beginning, and USA Basketball announced Monday that he was leaving the team, which begins training for the FIBA Tournament of the Americas on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Also withdrawing were Shane Battier and Greg Oden.
The qualifying tournament for two Olympic representatives is from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2. There is still another chance for a country to get to the Olympics, with the third- through fifth-place teams in this tournament invited to a qualifying event next summer.
Also, there are rumors a country can get in if it says, “Pretty please.”
For the U.S., it’s far more than just qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This is a continuation of the latest effort to re-establish the U.S. and the NBA as the pre-eminent figures in international basketball.
It began with a series of bad losses, from the 2002 world championships to the 2004 Olympics. A new program was undertaken headed by former Suns executive Jerry Colangelo, but the U.S. team was beaten in last year’s world championships.