USA Basketball reportedly sends out invitations to players interested in Tokyo Olympics
Friday, Jan. 23, was the six-month countdown date to the Opening Ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
That start date would be one-day after the currently-scheduled Game 7 of the NBA Finals (and the NBA’s television partners pushed for that Finals date because they don’t want their big game going up against the Olympics). That means players who go deep in the playoffs this season — plus those recovering from injuries or who still wouldn’t feel comfortable with international travel — will not be part of Team USA.
Which is why USA Basketball covered its bases, sending out invitation letters to approximately 60 potential players, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Sources: USA Basketball sent out approximately 60 invitations to players expressing interest in being part of 2021 Olympic team player pool, including all the league’s big names. Team USA could be without players advancing to NBA Finals, based on timing of July Olympics in Tokyo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 23, 2021
Selection process at center will be interesting for this team, a problem-area for Team USA in 2019 World Cup. Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Houston’s Christian Wood – one of the league’s success stories in 2020-2021 – are among invitees to fill those roles, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 23, 2021
Center — specifically a modern protect-the-rim-and-stretch-the-floor-from-three center that fits the international game — may not be easy to come by. That said, the United States is so deep with talent we can role out a Gold Medal squad from players who did not make the playoffs. Right now (as of this writing), taking the teams that would not make the playoffs or play-in games, USA Basketball could field a roster with Zion Williamson, Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, Brandon Ingram, Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball, Christian Wood, Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Edwards, and Jerami Grant. Which would instantly be a heavy favorite to win the Gold.
USA Basketball will not conduct tryouts; 12 players (and maybe a few alternates) will be invited to a training camp starting in early July in Las Vegas.
Who will be in that camp remains the big question.