Friday, 24 June 2016
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is among four players who have committed to join the United States basketball team at the Rio Olympics, ESPN reported Thursday.
Anthony averaged 21.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game for the Knicks and would have the chance to become the first US man with three basketball gold medals after helping the Americans take gold in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
Kyle Lowry, DeAndre Jordan and Jimmy Butler were also on the list of players agreeing to compete at Rio, according to the website report, which cited unnamed sources.
USA Basketball is expected to announce the American roster of NBA players for Rio next week.
Several big names have said they will not take part, amid fears of the Zika virus and crime, including NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of Golden State and star guards Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City and James Harden of Houston.
The pullout brings back memories of 2004, when security worries were a concern in the Athens run-up and many top names withdrew.
The Americans, including Anthony, took bronze and that flop sparked the creation of the current program that has lost only once since in world and Olympic play.
Anthony, 32, said last month he was unsure of playing at Rio with Zika among several concerns.
Butler averaged 20.9 points and 5.3 rebounds for Chicago this season while Lowry averaged 21.2 points and 6.4 assists for Toronto.
The report said that Detroit’s Andre Drummond is not going to Rio so the US turned to Jordan for another big man. He had 12.7 points and 13.8 rebounds last season for the Los Angeles Clippers.
LeBron James, who sparked the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA title with a dramatic game-seven effort against Golden State in the finals, is not expected to play in a fourth consecutive Olympics, in part because of the physical toll and mental grind he underwent during the Cavs’ title run.
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant said earlier this week he would play in Rio and ESPN reported Paul George, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins also will join the US roster in Brazil.
ESPN says USA Basketball hopes to have Kyrie Irving of Cleveland and Golden State’s Klay Thompson on the Olympic squad as well.
US coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff will conduct a four-day training camp in Las Vegas starting July 18 and the US team will play five pre-Olympic warmup contests starting July 22 against Argentina and concluding against Nigeria on August 1, five days before the start of men’s basketball at Rio.
Source by: AFP