Team USA selection deadline moved to July 8
If Miami guard Dwyane Wade is having concerns this summer about whether he will be healthy enough to play in the Olympics, an extended deadline for team selection could help him make the most informed decision possible.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told Fox Sports Florida last week he expected the deadline for the 12-man team to be selected would be pushed back from June 18 to the middle of the July 5-12 Team USA training camp in Las Vegas. He said Tuesday the new deadline is July 8.
The extension will allow Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski several days to evaluate the 18 Olympic finalists. The team is scheduled to meet July 5 and practice July 6 and 7 before the list is finalized, although Colangelo said some schedule adjustments might be made to allow for an even longer look.
The later deadline will allow Wade more time to gauge how his body feels, especially if the Heat play in the NBA Finals, which could run until June 26. Wade, 30, recently told NBA.com he’s not 100 percent committed to the July 27-Aug. 12 games in London, saying, “This is about being healthy . . . and taking it from there.”
“I love Dwyane very much, and I very much would love to see him be part of our Olympic team, and I hope he stays healthy,” Colangelo said by phone about Wade, who has had several nagging injuries this season. “Health comes first. That goes for any of our players . . . There will be no alarm (for Wade) or for any player who chooses not to play because of his physical health. We will support that.”
Colengelo requested an extension from the US Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs for submitting the final roster.
“We asked for dispensation because of all the injuries that have come down during this NBA season,” said Colangelo, whose original list of 20 Olympic finalists has lost Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chauncey Billups due to injury. “We wanted to buy time, especially since the deadline was June 18 and the playoffs (might not) even end until June 26 . . . If we had been locked in with the June 18 date and we had another injury before the playoffs ended, that would not have sat well with us.”
The request also included USA Basketball adding Kentucky center Anthony Davis and Oklahoma City guard James Harden to make the number of finalists 18. Those additions had to be approved by the USOC because potential Olympians must have time to enter a drug-testing program.
Colangelo didn’t feel good about possibly naming a team before he would get an up-close look at finalists. Although the deadline extension has helped, Colangelo still would like some more time to eye players.
Colengelo said Team USA might hold a “little minicamp” in June for available finalists and that he might ask players to show up earlier than July 5 for training camp. In addition to evaluating personnel on the court, Colangelo also would like to see how players have stayed in shape who might not have had a long playoff run.
“It’s an ongoing process,” Colangelo said. “People can speculate about a solid eight or 10 or 11 players (who will be on the final roster). For me, I want flexibility.”
Colangelo said he’s talking regularly with Krzyzewski about how Olympic finalists are looking in the playoffs. For instance, he praised recent performances by Harden and Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
Colangelo also is continuing picking a team that will scrimmage the Olympians in Las Vegas and comprise players who will be strong candidates for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Colangelo said the team will have 12 to 14 players. Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins, Washington guard John Wall, Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving and Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan already have accepted invitations.
The July 8 announcement will include the alternates to the 12-man roster. An alternate can be called in very close to the July 29 start of Olympic basketball, but Colangelo said it would have to be for a legitimate reason, not “Mickey Mouse stuff.”
Colangelo said he might take at least one alternate when Team USA plays a July 19 exhibition game in Manchester, England and exhibitions July 22 and 24 in Barcelona, Spain. But he said that’s not essential since a player could be called in just before the Olympics if someone on Team USA were to be injured.
In addition to Wade, Griffin, Davis and Harden, other Olympic finalists are LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Heat, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler of New York, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, the Clippers’ Chris Paul, New Jersey’s Deron Williams, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Memphis’ Rudy Gay, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala, New Orleans’ Eric Gordon and Dallas’ Lamar Odom.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson