Sunday, January 15, 2012
Sources: Team USA to tap 20 finalists
By Marc Stein
When USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski reveal the roster finalists Monday for the 2012 Olympic team, there will be two more names than originally expected.
One source close to the process told ESPN.com on Sunday that Colangelo -- after saying earlier this month that he planned to announce 18 finalists no later than Jan. 18 -- has decided to nominate 20 finalists for the ultimate 12-man roster that will compete in London.
ESPN.com reported on Jan. 6 that four players from the 2008 Olympic team had already been ruled out of consideration for 2012 (Chicago's Carlos Boozer, Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, Phoenix's Michael Redd and Dallas' Jason Kidd) and that Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin was "likely" the only player to be considered who wasn't part of the 2008 Olympic squad or the 2010 World Championships roster. SheridanHoops.com subsequently reported that Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge will join Griffin on USA Basketball's list of finalists.
If nothing has changed and Griffin and Aldridge are indeed on the 20-man roster to be unveiled at lunchtime Monday, that means two more players from the 2008 and 2010 squads have to be dropped along with Boozer, Prince, Redd and Kidd.
Eight holdovers from the 2008 gold-medal-winning team from Beijing are locks to be on Monday's list: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams.
The two players to be excised to make room for Griffin and Aldridge will thus come from the following 12-man roster, in alphabetical order, that won gold at the World Championships in Turkey: Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
Billups' spot would figure to be in jeopardy given not only his age (35) but Team USA's overwhelming depth at point guard. But Billups is the only obvious candidate to make way.
One source with knowledge of Team USA’s thinking told ESPN.com on Sunday night that Odom, despite his slow start since being traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks, is on the preliminary 20-man roster. So is Tyson Chandler.
If there are no further surprises, that also means Amare Stoudemire, Rajon Rondo and Andrew Bynum will head the list of notable omissions. The final 12-man roster, with alternates, must be submitted June 18 before the NBA Finals will be complete, but the U.S. Olympic Committee has requested a firm list of finalists by the end of the month so all 20 players named Monday can be placed in the USOC's drug-testing program.
"We have so much talent right now," Colangelo told the Associated Press in a recent interview. "The pool is extraordinary."