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USA Basketball names 41-player pool for Olympic men’s team

Curry, LeBron and the changing of the guard
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LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid headline a 41-player pool from which the 12-player U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team is expected to be chosen.

National team managing director Grant Hill, who picked the 41 players, said USA Basketball hopes to have a roster decision by early in the NBA playoffs, which begin in late April. The last five Olympic teams were finalized in June or July of the Olympic year.

The player pool, which is subject to change:

Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic)
Desmond Bane (Memphis Grizzlies)
Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors)
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Mikal Bridges (Brooklyn Nets)
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks)
Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns)
Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
Aaron Gordon (Denver Nuggets)
Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)
James Harden (Los Angeles Clippers)
Josh Hart (New York Knicks)
Tyler Herro (Miami Heat)
Jrue Holiday (Boston Celtics)
Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
Kyrie Irving (Dallas Mavericks)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies)
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
Cam Johnson (Brooklyn Nets)
Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz)
Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)
Damian Lillard (Milwaukee Bucks)
Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Chris Paul (Golden State Warriors)
Bobby Portis (Milwaukee Bucks)
Austin Reaves (Los Angeles Lakers)
Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat)
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Derrick White (Boston Celtics)
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)

PBT: Who makes the 12-man Olympic team?

James, a 39-year-old who played at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics, can shatter the record for oldest U.S. Olympic men’s basketball player (Larry Bird, 35, 1992).

James chose to skip the Tokyo Games and also skipped the 2016 Rio Games for rest after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title that year.

Curry is the biggest U.S. basketball star yet to play in an Olympics. His Golden State Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, is also the U.S. national team head coach. Kerr succeeded Gregg Popovich after the Tokyo Games.

Curry passed on the Tokyo Games to rest, Kerr said in 2021, and withdrew from 2016 Olympic consideration two months before the Games, citing several reasons, including knee and ankle injuries.

Durant led the U.S. in points per game at the last three Olympics, and in Tokyo broke Carmelo Anthony’s career Olympic points record for an American man.

The player pool also includes reigning NBA MVP Embiid, who announced in October that, if he plays at the Olympics, it will be with the U.S. and not his native Cameroon or France, which it is believed he is also eligible to represent.

Draymond Green was among the notables not named to the player pool, but he and others can still be added. Green and Durant were the only men to make both the Rio and Tokyo teams.

Green last week returned to Warriors game action for the first time in a month after an NBA suspension for “repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts” that was at first indefinite and ended up lasting 12 games.

“We all understand and certainly have great respect and sensitivity to this particular period in his career, and he’s working through some things both on and off the court,” Hill said. “So we at USA Basketball, we want to support him on his journey. We just didn’t feel that playing over the summer gives him the best opportunity to do what he needs to do.

“His contributions have been significant, and he is a real part of the legacy of this organization for his excellence, but in lieu of what’s transpired this year, we made a decision to not have him on this list.”

Keep in mind that one player on each of the last two Olympic teams made it without being in the initial expanded player pool.

For Tokyo, Keldon Johnson was not on the list of 44 finalists from February 2020 or the updated list of 57 finalists from March 2021. Johnson was added to the team one week before the Games after the withdrawals of Bradley Beal (COVID-19 protocols) and Kevin Love (injury).

Kyle Lowry made the Rio team in 2016 without being on the list of 30 finalists named that January.

The U.S. men have won four consecutive Olympic titles. In Tokyo, they lost for the first time during that run — in group play to France — and came back to beat the French 87-82 in their closest gold-medal game in the Dream Team era.

Last summer, a U.S. team without any All-NBA players or previous Olympians finished fourth at the FIBA World Cup, losing three games at a global championship for the first time since the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Also Tuesday, USA Basketball added another pre-Olympic exhibition game to its schedule — vs. Canada in Las Vegas on July 10 in a rematch of the World Cup bronze-medal game won by Canada.

In previously announced exhibitions, the U.S. will play fellow Olympic qualifier South Sudan on July 20 and world champion Germany on July 22, both in London.