NBA stars gather to begin trek to London
July 7, 2012, 12:14 am TWN
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Members of the U.S. Olympic team of NBA stars reported to training camp on Thursday and will start workouts Friday before the roster is trimmed to a final 12-man squad on Saturday.
Injuries have cut the list of 20 candidates to 14 healthy ones, with such stars as center Dwight Howard, guards Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, and forward Chris Bosh — a third of the likely Olympians — out of consideration for London.
What remains is the core from two U.S. championship lineups, the 2008 Beijing Olympic squad that reclaimed gold after the Americans finished third in 2004 and the 2010 world championship squad that won the title at Istanbul.
LeBron James, coming off his first NBA title with Miami, will be joined by 2008 teammates Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Deron Williams on the squad once again guided by Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski.
NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook, who lost to Miami in the final, will be joined by 2010 world teammates Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love, two vital big men for the Americans.
Other candidates include Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, James Harden and Eric Gordon.
U.S. college star Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in last week's NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, sprained an ankle in a workout for the NBA club and is status is uncertain.
Davis might be able to play by the time the Olympics begin and also could be important for the U.S. team in 2016 if the Olympics adopt the 23-and-under rules used by football, as NBA commissioner David Stern has hinted could happen.
“While it is unfortunate to have lost the players we have, coach Krzyzewski and I remain extremely confident with the group of players we will have at our training camp,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.
“We will still have an outstanding collection of talent and ultimately we will have another team that all Americans will be excited about and proud of.”
The U.S. camp will run through Thursday, ending with a game against the Dominican Republic. The Americans then train for three days in Washington before facing Brazil and then train two days in Manchester, England, before taking on the British Olympic squad.
Twenty years after the original U.S. Olympic Dream Team played in Barcelona, the latest incarnation of U.S. NBA Olympic talent will return for exhibition games against Argentina on July 22 and Spain on July 24, the latter a showdown of the Olympic gold medal favorites.