The United States will enter the FIBA World Cup in Spain with the goal of securing a place in the 2016 summer Olympic games. If ESPN's Marc Stein is correct, Kyrie Irving will be there.
Coach K and USAB chairman Jerry Colangelo simply have to see more of this posse of players that they're still learning about before they can be sure how they intend to fill the last few spots on the 12-man roster.
There are, on this scorecard, only five inarguable roster locks in the wake of the Durant news from the 15 still-here finalists: Anthony Davis, James Harden, Derrick Rose, Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving. So you can safely presume Coach K wants (and needs) more data to sort out the rest.
This is pretty great for a few reasons. On a personal level for Kyrie Irving, he made the decision to play for the American national team over the Australian one at a time when it wasn't clear that there would ever be a roster spot for him with the United States. At just 22 years old, he's closing in on that dream.
For the Cavaliers, and of course Irving himself this is some vindication from a highly respected basketball mind, Mike Krzyzewski, that Irving can really play. It wasn't Irving's best year last season, but his numbers stabilized after a brutal November and, as we've discussed many times on this site, the Cavs really couldn't have put him in a worse position. He looked excellent in the ill-fated scrimmage in which Paul George went down.
The injury risk is real, but I like the idea of Irving spending time getting to know and work with Steph Curry. Both are really smart smart guys. I think Irving could learn a bit. It's also just a good opportunity for him to play with guys who are as good as him or a little bit better in a competitive environment. Irving hasn't had either of those things happen very much in the last three years, but it will with Kevin Love and LeBron James.
There is the argument that Coach K is giving Irving special treatment because of their Duke connection. I'm not sure I care even if that is the case. You are telling me one of the greatest coaches alive has a soft spot for Kyrie? How awful! But even so, I really doubt Coach K wants to do anything other than win.
The Americans kick off the tournament on August 30. If Irving does make the team, we will have you covered every step of the way.