Not so fast.
Three hours after The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul was expected to commit to playing for USA Basketball in the Tokyo Olympics, it appears the point guard has other plans.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul has declined an invitation to join Team USA for the Summer Olympics.
Paul has a long history with the national team, having made his debut following his NBA Rookie of the Year season in 2006 during the FIBA World Championships.
He has also appeared at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and 2012 Olympics in London. The United States went undefeated and won the gold medal in both of those Olympics.
Suns teammate Devin Booker reportedly committed to the 12-man USA Basketball roster.
A continued playoff run by Phoenix would give Paul and Booker a quick turnaround to get to Tokyo. Opening ceremonies are set for July 23.
During his first season with the Suns in 2020-21, the 36-year-old Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists during the regular season, making All-NBA Second Team.
He is putting up 15.7 points and 8.7 assists in 10 playoff games thus far. He’s battled a shoulder issue in the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers but then averaged 25.5 points per game in the second round facing the Denver Nuggets.
Now in the Western Conference Finals, Paul is listed as out for Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. He already missed Game 1, a 120-114 Suns victory at home, after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.