Colangelo: Bosh Set for World Games, LeBron Closer to Saying 'Yes'
That's the word from USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, confident about having the bulk of the 2008 Olympic gold-medal team back for this summer's World Championships in Turkey.
In an interview with FanHouse on Friday night, Colangelo said Toronto star Chris Bosh has committed to play for the team, and Colangelo is feeling very optimistic about the inclusion of Cleveland star LeBron James. Colangelo said USA Basketball on Wednesday will announce between 25 and 28 names in the mix to play in Turkey as well as in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Colangelo recently met with Bosh in Toronto. Colangelo said Bosh, who was undecided when talking with FanHouse last October, has confirmed his participation in Turkey.
"He's in,'' Colangelo said. "I feel very good about it. He's got his free agency situation, but he understands we'll want him at (a July minicamp in Las Vegas) even though he won't have to participate. If you show respect to somebody, respect comes back to you.''
Colangelo is very confident James also will play in Turkey.
"If I were a betting man, I'd say yes,'' Colangelo said.
Bosh, James and Miami's Dwyane Wade all can opt out of their contracts this summer and become free agents. Although Colangelo reiterated they won't have to compete at the Las Vegas minicamp July 22-25 if their free-agent business remains unresolved and wouldn't have to suit up until the team begins training camp Aug. 10, Wade remains on the fence.
"He has to make the determination whether he's going to be with the group,'' Colangelo said. "As we go forward, we just have to be flexible.''
Wade will have his name on the list announced Wednesday. Colangelo said there will be 10 holdovers from the 2008 Olympic team named (James, Bosh, Wade, the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Denver's Carmelo Anthony, Orlando's Dwight Howard, New Orleans' Chris Paul, Detroit's Tayshaun Prince and Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer of Utah). The two Olympians who won't be on the list are Dallas' Jason Kidd, who has retired from international competition, and Milwaukee's Michael Redd, recently lost for the season with a serious knee injury.
While Colangelo already has said Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant is assured of playing in Turkey, he wouldn't reveal other names on the list. However, sources confirmed Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, Minnesota's Kevin Love and New York's David Lee are among those who will be named.
One intriguing possibility is Denver's Chauncey Billups. Sources said he has been invited to have his name on the list but he has yet to decide whether he will accept.
Billups, who played in the 2007 Olympic qualifying tournament but bowed out before the 2008 Olympics due to family issues, intrigues USA Basketball officials as a possible replacement as a veteran point guard for Kidd. There also is interest in Billups, 33, due to the recent knee injury to Paul, out four to six weeks after undergoing surgery Thursday.
One name that won't be on the list is Portland guard Brandon Roy. Sources said, after discussions that included Roy, it has been thought best Roy not play during upcoming summers due to possible wear and tear on his knees. Roy underwent knee surgery before last season, and his health has remained a concern.
"There are going to be a few surprises,'' Colangelo said of the list of names he will reveal. "There are going to be some role players.''
After Team USA's list is released, Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski are expected to have a teleconference with the media. Next Friday, Colangelo, who also is the chairman of the Hall of Fame board, will hold a press conference in Dallas during All-Star Weekend to announce the 2010 Hall of Fame finalists.
Names announced will include former NBA stars Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, as well as the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team in the team category. A source expects the 1960 U.S. Olympic team also to be announced.
Many consider the 1960 unit, which won the gold medal in Rome while going 8-0 and outscoring foes by an average of 42.4 points, to be the most dominant amateur Olympic team ever. The team included four eventual Hall of Famers in Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Walt Bellamy and four others who would later play in NBA All-Star Games in Terry Dischinger, Bob Boozer, Darrall Imhoff and Adrian Smith, MVP of the 1967 game.
"I remember Oscar Robertson once saying that if we could have played as pros rather than amateurs, we would have been better than the Dream Team,'' Dischinger said Friday.
Asked about Hall of Fame consideration for the 1960 team, Bob Boozer said, "It's about time.''
The Hall of Fame class will be announced April 5. Then it will back to USA Basketball in earnest for Colangelo as he will cut his list of players for the World Championships down to 15 to 18 by the minicamp and finally to 12 before the event, which runs Aug. 28-Sept. 12.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter@christomasson