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Former Suns Isaiah Thomas, Joe Johnson to play USA qualifiers

Washington Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas drives past Phoenix Suns guard Ricky Rubio (11) in the first half during an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

NBA veterans and former Phoenix Suns guards Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson are on USA Basketball’s roster for the final round of AmeriCup qualifying next month.

The Americans have already clinched an AmeriCup berth but still have two more games to play, against Bahamas on Feb. 19 and Mexico on Feb. 20. Those games will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Johnson, 39, played for Phoenix from 2002-05, averaging 14.0 points, 3.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game before he left as a free agent and became a seven-time NBA All-Star.

Thomas played for the Suns for part of the 2014-15 season and averaged 15.2 points and 3.7 assists per game. He was traded to the Boston Celtics that year in a wild trade deadline day that saw Goran Dragic also get shipped out of Phoenix and Brandon Knight become a Sun.

Thomas was an All-Star in Boston the next two seasons, but injuries have since limited the success of the near-32-year-old.

USA Basketball said Friday that Joe Prunty will coach the Americans in those games, assisted by Othella Harrington and Yale coach James Jones. Prunty also has ties to Phoenix, as he was on the staff in 2018-19 under head coach Igor Kokoskov.

The Americans will train in San Juan from Feb. 13 through Feb. 18, and plan on releasing the full roster for the two qualifying games next week.

AmeriCup — to be held in September 2022 — is the 12-team tournament that serves as the championship of the teams in the FIBA Americas zone, covering nations from North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. USA Basketball has won the AmeriCup title seven times in nine previous attempts.


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