The two Los Angeles Lakers superstars each missed significant time during the 2020-21 NBA season.
James sat out of 20 straight games after suffering a high ankle sprain on March 20 against the Atlanta Hawks, while Davis only appeared in 36 regular-season games as he dealt with calf and Achilles injuries. Then in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, Davis suffered a groin strain, which caused him to miss one game and knocked him out of two others, as the defending-champion Lakers were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns.
If James and Davis don't play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be the second straight Olympic Games that they missed. James skipped out on the Rio Olympics in 2016, opting to rest after winning the NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Davis couldn't play due to shoulder surgery.
James did compete in the three prior Olympic Games, though, capturing gold in 2012 and 2008. Davis was also part of the 2012 gold medal squad.
Vardon's report cites that Steph Curry is "50-50" on whether he will make his Olympic debut. The Golden State Warriors star has won two gold medals with Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, but is yet to compete in the Olympics. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, another star without an Olympic appearance, is "believed to have a strong interest in playing, though no final decision has been made," per Vardon.
USA Basketball announced 57 finalists for the Olympic roster back in March and must submit a 12-man roster by July 5. There's no set date for when Team USA will kick off its training camp in Las Vegas.
What could complicate things for Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich and his staff as they try to finalize the roster is the ongoing NBA playoffs. There are several big-name finalists who are still competing in the playoffs like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul. The NBA Finals start on July 8, with a potential Game 7 scheduled for July 22, and the Tokyo Olympics get underway July 23.
So James and Davis might not be the only superstars who don't make the trip to Tokyo.