Carmelo Anthony wanted to play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup ... but team organizers REJECTED the NBA superstar out of fear he could be a "distraction."
Yeah ... Jerry Colangelo seriously said that about the 3-time gold medalist and all-time leading scorer in Team USA history.
The Team USA hoops managing director says Melo expressed interest in playing in the upcoming international tourney (set to begin later this month) but Jerry says he wanted the team to go in a different direction.
“I love Carmelo,” Colangelo told Sports Illustrated. “He made a great contribution. He was a very good international player."
"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 reestablish himself. I think that has to be done in the [NBA].”