Carmelo Anthony's attempts to join the United States' tilt for World Cup gold have been knocked back in a sign they are serious about a three-peat in China next month.
Anthony has been a major cog in the national programme's restoration efforts, arriving in time for a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics before helping them to gold at the next three Games.
With his NBA career in limbo Anthony's representatives reportedly approached United States team manager Jerry Colangelo, who promptly knocked the cameo on the head.
"I love Carmelo; he made a great contribution. He was a very good international player," Colangelo told Sports Illustrated.
"But for where we are and what we're doing, that conceivably could have been a distraction.
"I understand why the request was made. He's trying to re-establish himself. I think that has to be done in the (NBA)."
The United States will play the Boomers in Melbourne twice this month before the World Cup, which begins on August 31.
A string of high-profile withdrawals have led many to rubbish the two-time defending champion's hopes in China, while Australia will enter with genuine hopes of snagging a maiden international medal.
But in NBA All-Star Kemba Walker, Utah Jazz young gun Donovan Mitchell, Toronto title-winner Kyle Lowry as well as Khris Middleton, Kyle Kuzma, De'Aaron Fox, Jaylen Brown, Myles Turner and Brook Lopez they will still arrive in Australia with a stacked roster.
"It's our responsibility to not only become the best team we can be but it's the way we conduct ourselves and the USA on our shirt is what it's all about," Popovich said from the squad's Las Vegas training camp.
"It's beyond the Hawks and the Spurs and the Clippers and so on.
"That takes a back seat to this because we are representing a lot of people and we have a huge responsibility not only for the country, to do this in a classy manner, but to continue the success that USA Basketball has had for the last 12 years. That's a big responsibility."