While Mr. Lee may not have made it to the All-Star game this weekend, he was announced yesterday at having achieved something else equally prestigious: a roster on the pool of players for the USA National team that will play for this summer’s world championship and 2012′s Olympics. 27 players were chosen, nine of them from the team that finally brought home the gold last year (after a ridiculous eight years of the US being unable to win a gold in any international bball competition). Those nine returners are the big names: Kobe, LeBron, Dwayne Wade, CP3, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, and Carlos Boozer (okay, maybe Booze ain’t quite as big a name as the others, but he’s still good).
With a few of them likely to sit out this summer so they don’t injure themselves before they get a new contract (in other words the guys the Knicks would chase after: LeBron, Wade, Bosh, plus A’mare Stoudamire who made the pool too), it does provide some openings. Not to mention that say a banged up Kobe might need to take the summer off to get his body healthy again. Of course, included in those free agents-to-be are none other than David Lee, so he himself might have to bow out. Oh, and another thing in Lee’s favor is that once again the Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni will be one of the assistant coaches on the USA team. It’s always nice having someone on the inside to help plead your case.
Anyway, the remaining invitees include the Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups, LA Lakers’ Lamar Odom, plus a who’s-who of all the young and upcoming players in the NBA according to ESPN: the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (pretty much a lock to make the final roster since he almost made it last time and he’s only gotten better), Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose,
Minnesota‘s Al Jefferson and Kevin Love; Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo of Memphis; Philadelphia‘s Andre Iguodala; Boston‘s Kendrick Perkins; Indiana‘s Danny Granger; New York‘s David Lee; New Jersey center Brook Lopez; Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook; Portland‘s LaMarcus Aldridge; Charlotte‘s Gerald Wallace; and Clippers guard Eric Gordon.
The Americans will choose a group from the roster to take part in their minicamp in Las Vegas in July. They are expected to play an exhibition game in New York before heading to Turkey for the world championships, which they haven’t won since 1994.
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