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NBA Rumors: Rose May Not Make Team USA?

After experiencing soreness in his knee, Derrick Rose isn’t guaranteed to make Team USA … Six players are a lock to make the final roster … Utah Jazz sign Jack Cooley

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Rose Isn’t A Lock to Make Team USA

Knee soreness kept Derrick Rose out of practice Tuesday, making it the third straight day he has not played any basketball. And that left Team USA officials wondering whether Rose will be capable of handling the rigorous World Cup schedule.

Rose is unlikely to start [on Wednesday], a team source told SheridanHoops.com. Kyrie Irving could move into the starting five after playing exceptionally well in a sixth man role Saturday night against Brazil, and the federation was expecting Rose to be able to contribute off the bench.

But if Rose’s knees remain sore – officially, the team said he was held out for “precautionary reasons – and he does not play, the makeup of the final roster will be much more uncertain than it appeared it would be when this week began. If Rose cannot handle the workload of playing three games in three nights and five games in six nights when pool play begins in Bilbao, Spain, the roster would effectively be reduced to 11 1/2 players.

via Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com

Team USA hopes that Rose will be healthy enough to make the team and play at a high level, since he’s clearly one of the most talented players on the roster when he’s 100 percent.

However, if his knees continue to be an issue and he can’t contribute, it makes more sense for the team to send Rose home and bring another one of the finalists to Spain in his place.

In Team USA’s first exhibition game against Brazil over the weekend, Rose started and scored seven points in 24 minutes. It was Rose’s first game in Chicago in nine months, and he received loud “M-V-P” chants from the crowd.

Rose has told reporters that he feels much more confident now than he did when he tried to make his comeback during the 2013-14 season, and it seemed like he was in attack mode at times during Saturday’s game.

If Rose isn’t healthy enough to play, he will be the latest star player left off of the Team USA roster for the World Cup. Paul George injured his leg in Team USA’s first scrimmage, while Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge decided not to participate.

Six Players Are Locks for USA’s Final Roster

For now, the players who are locks to make the final roster – barring injuries – are Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee.

via Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com

It’s no surprise that Davis, Curry, Irving and Harden are locks to make the team.

These are some of the best players on the roster and these are the individuals who will be expected to step up and play at a high level in the absence of players like Kevin Durant, Paul George, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.

The surprises are Faried and Plumlee, but it makes sense when you consider that Team USA’s frontcourt is pretty depleted and DeMarcus Cousins sustained an injury during a recent practice, putting his availability up in the air.

Faried played very well in the exhibition game against Brazil, providing energy and setting the tone for the game.

Plumlee is reportedly ahead of Andre Drummond on the depth chart and he has impressed the coaching staff with his play. Remember, Plumlee started the Team USA camp as a member of the 2014 USA Select Team, but was moved to the actual team after playing well. It also helps that Plumlee has a strong relationship with head coach Mike Krzyzewski since he played for him at Duke. Plumlee also has history with Team USA, as he was a member of the U.S. national team in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

It remains to be seen who else will make the final roster. Players like Drummond, Gordon Hayward, DeMar DeRozan, Chandler Parsons and Damian Lillard are expected to play more in Wednesday’s exhibition game in New York, giving them a chance to show why they deserve a spot on the team.

Jazz Sign Jack Cooley

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed free-agent forward Jack Cooley.

via Jazz press release

Cooley, who was a Summer League standout, spent last season playing for Trabzonspor in the Turkish Basketball League. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 22.9 minutes in 28 games (19 starts).

Prior to becoming a pro, the 6’9 big man played four years at Notre Dame (2009-13), averaging 13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds during his senior season. He also led the team with 41 blocked shots and earned 2013 All-Big East First Team honors.

Cooley totaled 32 double-doubles throughout his career with the Fighting Irish, including 19 in his senior campaign.  He also earned the 2012 Big East Most Improved Player award and was named to the 2012 All-Big East Second Team.  Cooley became the 53rd player in Notre Dame history to reach the 1,000-point mark and finished with 1,017 career points and grabbed 792 career rebounds.

Cooley went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, but the 23-year-old will now have a shot at making the Jazz roster.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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