USA announce star-studded list of candidates for Olympic squad
COLORADO SPRINGS (2016 Rio Olympics) - USA Basketball on Monday announced the 30 candidates for the country's squad at the Rio de Janeiro Games. Three-time Olympians LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are among them.
Both James and Anthony had pivotal roles in the USA sides that captured gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. They were bronze-medal winners in 2004.
Ten of the 12 players in the Americans' undefeated team at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup are candidates, including tournament MVP Kyrie Irving and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
Curry's Golden State Warriors teammates Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala are all among the 30.
Iguodala won gold medals at both the 2010 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2012 London Games. He was the 2015 NBA Finals MVP after the Warriors' championship triumph over Cleveland.
James Harden (USA) won gold at the 2012 London Games
Thompson was the USA's second leading scorer at the World Cup in Spain behind James Harden, another of the candidates for this year's team. Green has been one of the best players in the NBA this season, helping the Warriors to a league best record of 37 wins and just four defeats.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of the national team since 2005, is excited about the players in the reckoning for spots in the Olympic squad.
The depth of talent that exists in the national team program is extraordinary. Obviously selecting the official roster of 12 players for the Olympics in 2016 will be a very, very difficult process. As has been the case with past USA Basketball teams, the goal once again is to select the very best team possible to represent the United States. - Colangelo
USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is looking forward to another summer with the national team. He has led the country to gold at the past two Olympics and the last couple of World Cups.
"This selection process was difficult from the start, and obviously it is only going to get more difficult as we look to get to the official, 12-man roster," Krzyzewski said. "I’m excited about the possibilities this team has. Among the finalists we have multiple players who won gold medals at the Olympic or World Cup level. The roster of finalists features incredible talent, great balance, outstanding leadership, and I believe like we had with our previous teams, this team will have a special chemistry."
Coach Mike Krzyzewski (USA)
Krzyzewski added that to have a deep, very talented, and extremely versatile roster is of critical importance in the team's pursuit of the gold medal in Rio.
Nine players from the gold medal winning 2012 U.S. Olympic team that went 8-0 in London remain in contention for the 2016 U.S. Olympic squad, including Anthony, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Harden, Iguodala, James, Kevin Love, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. In addition to Anthony and James, Dwight Howard and Paul also were members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that went unbeaten.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, a member of the USA sides at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, had expressed the hope of playing for the Americans in Rio earlier this season - his last in the NBA. He announced over the weekend to reporters that he had decided to withdraw from consideration for a spot on the roster.
USA candidates for places on Olympic roster: LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, Mike Conley, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kevin Durant, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Paul George, Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Gordon Hayward, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, DeAndre Jordan, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, John Wall and Russell Westbrook.