Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Final three spots will be set by tournament in late April
By Chris Sheridan
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest of Team USA will have to wait until late April to find out who their first-round opponents will be at the 2008 Olympics.
FIBA, the international governing body for basketball, issued a news release Wednesday announcing two pieces of news:
• The Olympic draw will be held April 26 in Beijing, setting the two first-round groupings from a field of 12 that includes nine teams that have already qualified: USA, Argentina, Russia, Spain, Lithuania, Angola, China, Australia and Iran.
• San Juan, P.R., and Athens, Greece, have been chosen as the two finalist cities to play host to the new extra pre-Olympic qualifying tournament to be held July 14-20. That tournament will determine the final three Olympic participants. The 12-team field includes Greece, Puerto Rico, Germany, Slovenia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Lebanon and Korea.
Representatives from national federations will choose between San Juan and Athens at their central board meeting in Chicago on Dec. 8-9.
Team USA plans to hold training camp in Las Vegas in mid-July before playing tuneup games in Las Vegas, Macao and Shanghai.
The Olympics will be held Aug. 8-24 in Beijing.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com.