LeBron, Durant highlight US roster; Kobe will not play in 2016 Games
LeBron James and 10 others from the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team are remaining in the national team pool, joined by a group of newcomers hoping for their first chance at gold.
USA Basketball selected 28 players Thursday to choose from for the World Cup of Basketball this summer in Spain and the 2016 Rio Olympics. Carmelo Anthony was also chosen, giving him and James a chance to play in a fourth Olympics and win a third gold medal.
Also selected from the 2012 gold medalists were: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kevin Love, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Anthony Davis, Tyson Chandler and Andre Iguodala.
Only Kobe Bryant, who has said he is finished with international competition, wasn’t selected.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is back to lead the Americans, as he has done since 2005.
The other players picked were: Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Houston’s Dwight Howard, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Indiana’s Paul George; Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson of Golden State; LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard of Portland; Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving of Cleveland; San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard; Washington’s Bradley Beal; Atlanta’s Kyle Korver; Detroit’s Andre Drummond; Denver’s Kenneth Faried; and Utah’s Gordon Hayward.
It’s an experienced, star-filled group — it includes the NBA’s top 10 scorers — and the Americans stressed it will be "fluid," meaning more players could be added over the next three years.
"This roster is extremely talented, deep and versatile," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
"Continuity and familiarity with international basketball are critical parts in our success, and between our coaching staff and these 28 players we certainly have that. Every one of the selected players has been involved in USA Basketball previously and that speaks to how well our pipeline is working."
Half of the 28 players have already won gold in either the Olympics or world basketball championships, which was renamed for this year’s event. James, Anthony, Paul and Williams all have played on the last two Olympic gold medal winners.
Howard missed his chance to join them when he had to pull out of the 2012 London Games because of injury. So did Rose and Griffin — the latter after he had made the final 12-man roster.
Durant and Love were the first to announce their return last summer. They, along with Iguodala, Westbrook and Chandler, won gold in both 2010 and 2012.
The Americans will have to trim the roster to 12 before heading to Spain. If they defend their world title, they will automatically clinch a spot for Rio. If not, they would have to play in an Olympic qualifying tournament in 2015.
As in 2010, when they won the worlds for the first time since 1994, the Americans will likely feature a younger roster. If the Olympic veterans decide to play again, they are expected to wait until 2016. Anthony already said Wednesday he would not play this summer.
But the U.S. would be loaded even without them, with the potential to bring players such as Aldridge, George and Cousins, who have been among the NBA’s best this season.