U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team solidifies 10 of 12 roster spots
NEW YORK (AP) -- A person with knowledge of the details says Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks has agreed to chase a fourth Olympic men’s basketball medal, while Toronto teammates Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will also play for the U.S.
The person told The Associated Press on Thursday that the Americans were still awaiting decisions from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving but had solidified 10 of their 12 roster spots. Later Thursday, Cleveland.com reported that James will not go to Rio.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the roster discussions were to remain private. The roster is to be selected Monday.
James’ absence leaves Anthony alone in trying to become the most decorated men’s basketball Olympian ever.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan are also committed to play for the two-time defending champions in Rio.
Kawhi Leonard passed on the opportunity to play, with the San Antonio Spurs announcing his withdrawal in a news release.
“This was a very difficult decision. It’s an honor to have been considered for the team and I hope that in the future I will have the chance to represent my country by playing for USA Basketball,” Leonard said.
Anthony won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and a bronze in 2004. He, James and Hall of Famer David Robinson are the only Americans to play in three Olympics.
Anthony previously said he planned to play, telling AP recently: “Listen, I’ve been with USA Basketball since I was 16, 17 years old. Can’t stop now.”
DeRozan played for the Americans when they won the gold medal at the Basketball World Cup in 2014, but Lowry’s inclusion on the roster was a surprise, since he wasn’t even in the Americans’ roster pool of 31 players.
But with Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook all withdrawing, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said earlier this month he wouldn’t rule out adding another guard.
He may even need to add another if Irving declines to play. Irving was the MVP of the 2014 Basketball World Cup and would probably start for the Americans if he opted to play after helping the Cavaliers win the NBA title.
Yahoo Sports first reported Thursday that Anthony, Lowry and DeRozan would play.
Durant won gold in 2012. George, Green, Thompson, Cousins, Butler and Jordan would all be making their Olympic debuts.