Klay Thompson is expected to make about $4.5 million next NBA season, so the former Washington State standout can afford to travel pretty much anywhere, anytime. No amount of money, however, is worth more to Thompson than the expenses-paid trip to Spain he embarks on today with the United States national team.
USA Basketball announced late Friday night that Thompson, who played at WSU from 2008-11 and was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, is one of 12 NBA players who will represent the top-ranked U.S. at the World Cup, the world championship of men’s basketball.
World Cup rosters are limited to 12 players. The final four U.S. cuts were made after a 112-86 exhibition win over Puerto Rico on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Americans are scheduled to fly today to Spain, where the World Cup unfolds Aug. 30-Sept. 14. The U.S. begins group play Aug. 30 against Finland.
Thompson, a guard on the Golden State Warriors, has been a key reserve in all three U.S. exhibition, scoring in double figures in all. Friday he had 12 points and tied for game honors with 27 minutes played, four 3-pointers made and three blocked shots.
Thompson will be joined on the U.S. squad by Golden State teammate Stephen Curry, Chicago’s Derrick Rose, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Houston’s James Harden, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee, Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Denver’s Kenneth Faried.
All-Star point guard Damian Lillard of Portland and small forwards Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver and Chandler Parsons were cut from the 16-man roster that played in exhibitions.
“To select 12 was difficult, because our pool is so good,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
“Since taking over the USA basketball men’s national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we’ve been through,” managing director Jerry Colangelo said.
The U.S. plays its final exhibition game Tuesday against Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain (11 a.m., ESPN2). The ESPN networks are set to carry all U.S. games.
Three other former WSU players made World Cup rosters: Aron Baynes and Brock Motum with Australia, and Thomas Abercrombie with New Zealand. Baynes plays for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Motum turned pro in Italy last season. Abercrombie plays professionally in Australia.