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Rockets’ James Harden expected to be on Team USA roster

James Harden, Rockets

Team USA is slowly building its roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup tournament this August. Marc Stein of The New York Times reports that Team USA expects to tap Houston Rockets superstar James Harden for the final 12-man lineup for the international tournament.

James Harden will surely be a significant addition to Team USA.

The reigning NBA MVP had a statistically historic campaign in 2018-19 that is certainly worthy of another MVP award. He carried Houston to the fourth-best record in the Western Conference after the team sputtered out of the gates.

The Rockets had high hopes to knock off the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, which they faced off the West semifinals. They had their best chance to do so when Warriors superstar and leading playoff scorer Kevin Durant went down with a calf strain in the pivotal Game 5.

Unfortunately, the Rockets couldn’t take advantage of a depleted Warriors squad and got knocked off by the Dubs in the postseason for the fourth time in five seasons.

With their disappointing ending to the season, Rockets GM Daryl Morey is trying to make significant changes with the roster. Unfortunately, the Rockets don’t have much flexibility to work with; they have around $116 million tied to six players next season.

There exists the possibility of a fire sale of a large chunk of the roster – including aging guard Chris Paul – with Harden nearly if not entirely untouchable.

With the upcoming FIBA tournament coming up, Harden can take his mind off the mini-turmoil happening within the Rockets’ organization. Houston is still hell-bent on finally knocking off Golden State in the playoffs.