Jerry Colangelo doesn’t expect more withdrawals, still awaits LeBron James’ decision
Following a raft of withdrawals from his potential men’s Olympic roster, USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo thinks he’s seen the end of it. And even with all the players pulling out, he’s not concerned about a drop off in performance in Rio.
“To the best of my knowledge, as of this moment, we don’t expect any additional attrition due to injuries,” Colangelo told ESPN Radio’s Andy Katz and Rick Klein on Tuesday. “We have been in touch with most all of the players who still remain on our list of candidates. We’re moving quickly toward the selection process and we will name our team no later than June 27th.”
Concern arose last week as four players pulled their names out of consideration for various reasons, bringing the total to eight. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, John Wall, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin have said they will not compete in Rio
But Team USA is “blessed” with a deep roster, Colangelo said, one that is able to take some hits and remain the gold-medal favorite.
“There should be turnover each time, because that’s what keeps the system purring, if you will,” he said. “The depth that I refer to, we’re blessed with a lot of great players. If you look at our depth chart, you could take a number of hits, as we’re doing right now – and hopefully we’ve seen the end of it. And if that’s true, we’re going to be just fine.”
His stance may change should LeBron James take his name off the roster. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is 31 years old playing in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals, which pushes an already-long season into June. But Colangelo is preparing for life with or without James.
“LeBron, we were advised some time ago that he wouldn’t make his final decision until post playoffs. So honestly, what we’re doing right now is kind of composing a couple of rosters – one with LeBron, one without LeBron. And again, we won’t know until the finals are over,” Colangelo said.
James’ Cleveland Cavaliers extended the 2016 NBA Finals by winning Game 5 Monday night. James scored 41 points. Game 6 is Thursday.
The radio hosts also asked Colangelo about the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. From the information he’s been given, he said he’s not concerned about his well-being or that of his high-priced players. Not one NBA player has cited Zika as a reason for withdrawal.
“All systems go,” Colangelo said in regard to the virus.