USA Basketball announced the finalists for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Team and among the 57 players include LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 2020 Olympic Games, slated to occur in Tokyo, were postponed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic causing sporting leagues and competitions across the world to come to a screeching halt.
However, with increased availability with testing and vaccination numbers augmenting, the Olympics are set to begin later this summer.
Having a 57-player pool of potential candidates for the final roster allows for flexibility for USA Basketball because of the fluidity of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jerry Colangelo of USA Basketball:
“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible. These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that,” said Jerry Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team since 2005.
“Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”
The official roster, which will be trimmed down to 12 players, will be announced by the team later this year.
If James is selected to the roster, it’d mark his fourth time representing USA at the Olympics, and he’d be the second U.S. men’s basketball player to have that amount, tying Carmelo Anthony. James withdrew from the 2016 Olympics.
Davis was involved with the 2012 Olympic squad that went undefeated and secured the gold medal in London but didn’t play in 2016 due to injury.
Kuzma and Harrell haven’t represented USA at the Olympics, but they have experience with the team at different levels. Harrell has made 14 appearances with the team; Kuzma has three.
The Lakers tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets for having four finalists, while the Brooklyn Nets championed the list with six players.
Lakers interested in LaMarcus Aldridge
With Davis sidelined because of lower-leg injuries and Marc Gasol’s decline in efficiency, the Lakers are scouring the market for additional big men to compete and defend their recent championship.
Aldridge has improved his 3-point shooting this season, something the Lakers wanted from Marc Gasol, but Aldridge parallels Gasol in slow mobility, especially on the defensive end. If he plays situational minutes, Aldridge could definitely bring value off the bench; the key with him is to truncate expectations — he’s not the same player he used to be.
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