Well, so much for that.
Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox had been a standout this summer with Team USA, drawing rave reviews from just about everyone associated with the program, including head coach Gregg Popovich.
Despite only playing six minutes in Friday's exhibition win over Spain, Popovich informed the media that all 14 finalists, including Fox and Harrison Barnes, would be heading with the team to Australia as they continue their prep.
But Fox apparently had other ideas, as the Kentucky product has withdrawn from Team USA to "focus on season goal of making the playoffs," Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes reported Saturday, citing league sources.
Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox will withdraw from Team USA to focus on upcoming season with goal of making playoffs, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 17, 2019
That is a bit of a shocker.
Last season, the Kings took a step in the right direction when Fox, Barnes, Marvin Bagley and Buddy Hield led them to a 39-43 record and kept them in the playoff hunt for much of the year.
But the Western Conference got a lot tougher over the offseason. With Anthony Davis now a Laker, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joining the Clippers, Mike Conley being acquired by the Jazz and the Rockets swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, the West will be the ultimate gauntlet this year.
And let's not forget about the Warriors, who despite the loss of Kevin Durant, still will be a threat.
A number of Western Conference stars elected not to participate in Team USA this summer, hoping instead to put all their focus on a title run next season in the wide-open NBA.
After a few weeks with the Red, White, and Blue, Fox apparently has chosen to put all his time and energy into helping the Kings snap their playoff drought.