Bulls’ Zach LaVine reveals he turned down potential FIBA World Cup spot due to tweaked ankle
While LaVine appreciated the gesture and wanted to play, he opted not to since he was dealing with an ankle injury:
Zach LaVine confirms that USA Basketball did reach out to him about playing in the FIBA World Cup this summer. He got the call after the initial wave of guys opted out.
LaVine wanted to play but tweaked an ankle and didn't want to risk anything.
— Mark Strotman (@markstrot) October 3, 2019
Zach LaVine ultimately made the right decision. The Bulls guard is a talented scorer, but he probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference for the Americans, who placed in seventh place.
LaVine would have been putting more pressure on his injured ankle instead of getting proper rest. The high-flyer said at Bulls Media Day on Monday he wants to play in all 82 games this season and help Chicago make the playoffs. For those two things to happen, LaVine’s body has to hold up.
Last season, LaVine showed he has completely recovered from the ACL tear he suffered during the 2016-17 season when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 24-year-old averaged 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 63 games for the Bulls while shooting 46.7 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from beyond the arc and 83.2 percent from the free-throw line.
The Bulls are excited to see the leap LaVine will take for them this season. If he does, perhaps he will be in consideration for the 2020 Olympics, which he would be interested in.