LeBron James considering Olympic comeback - among 44 Team USA finalists
LeBron James is considering a return to the Olympics.
James — a two-time gold medalist and three-time Olympian — was among 44 players announced by USA Basketball on Monday as finalists for the team that will play in the Tokyo Games this summer. James played in 2004, 2008 and 2012, helping the U.S. win gold in his most recent two appearances.
The pool includes 19 players who have won a total of 31 gold medals in either Olympic or World Cup competition for the Americans — including nine players who captured the Olympic title for USA Basketball in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.
James has played in 68 games for the U.S. national team and has said several times over the past year or so that he is thinking about another Olympics — after sitting out the Rio Games for a variety of reasons. Part of the interest in participating this summer is to have the chance to play for U.S. coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
“My name is in the hat. It's always predicated on how my body feels at the end of the season," James said. “I am hoping to make a long playoff run and then where my mind is and where my family's head is. There are a lot of factors.”
There will be no tryouts. USA Basketball will pare the list down to a 12-person Olympic team by early June, those decisions to be made by a selection committee — and to be based in part on player availability and health. Training camp will start in early July, potentially as little as two weeks after the end of the NBA Finals. The Olympics start July 24.
Also included in the pool: 15 of the 16 players from the U.S. who are scheduled to play in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, and all 12 members of the team that represented the U.S. at last summer’s Basketball World Cup in China — where the
The nine players still in the mix from the 2016 Olympic team: Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Miami’s Jimmy Butler, San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
Back from the 2012 Olympic champion roster: the Los Angeles Lakers’ James and Anthony Davis, Durant, Houston’s James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul. Back from the 2008 gold-medal squad: the Lakers' Dwight Howard.
And those with World Cup or world championship gold medals for USA Basketball, but no Olympic gold to this point: Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Cleveland’s Andre Drummond and Denver’s Mason Plumlee.
The 25 other players who are finalists for this summer’s team but do not yet have Olympic or World Cup gold for the U.S.: Miami’s Bam Adebayo, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Utah’s Mike Conley, the Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Boston’s Gordon Hayward, New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram, the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, Lillard, Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez, the Lakers’ JaVale McGee, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, Boston’s Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum, Indiana’s Myles Turner, Boston’s Kemba Walker and San Antonio’s Derrick White.
“The reason we have this big roster is a lot of things happen, a lot of variables,” Colangelo said. “And what’s to say what's going to happen from an injury standpoint between now and June. We don't know. So we have the rest of the season to monitor, to watch. But when we select our 12, they will be 12 who are absolutely in with all fours.”
Associated Press (AP)