USA Today: since these were the last two teams standing in the league, let's count the number of faces on the court Tuesday night who will be on the list next Monday when Team USA is announced.
Well, let's see ... one. Kobe Bryant.
Perhaps you were wondering about the guy who has been busy torching the Lakers, and through the first five games was clearly the MVP of these NBA Finals?
That'd be Paul Pierce. Available to take on the Hawks and Pistons and Lakers? Certainly. But Argentina or Lithuania? Not a chance.
It probably seems something of a paradox spilling out of the television set, watching a man carry his team toward an NBA title with such aptitude, but knowing his services are not required for Beijing.
So you'll want reasons.
He hasn't played in Team USA's international efforts in recent years. Team director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski naturally have their eyes on those who did.
There are capable men in line to man the positions. Bryant, Carmelo Anthony. LeBron James might ring a bell.
There is the matter of Pierce's famously damaged knee, and other assorted pains. It has been a long and arduous season, helping haul the Celtics from the pits to the penthouse, and Pierce is 30. They might not have wheelchairs in Beijing.
Also, he played for the 2002 team. In case anyone has forgotten 2002 — and in the USA basketball community, who hasn't tried? — the United States finished sixth in the FIBA World Championship. It was a train wreck in short pants, though they did beat out Turkey.
Nothing went right. Pierce, one of the team's prominent players, drew a chunk of the blame. Was he selfish? Was he moody? Depends on whom you ask.
Coming from that team and hoping to get on future U.S. teams was like applying for a job as sea captain, with a résumé that lists past work experience as an apprentice on the Titanic.
Detroit News: Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups withdrew his name from consideration for the U.S. Olympic basketball team Tuesday, according to an ESPN report.
Billups was under consideration for one of the final two guard spots, competing with Chris Paul and Deron Williams. The final roster is expected to be announced early next week.
USA Basketball, late Tuesday afternoon, would not confirm that Billups had withdrawn.
The ESPN report said Billups dropped out due to an unspecified family concern.
"It's a matter of what you want to do and what you need to do," Billups told ESPN. "Winning a gold medal is the one thing that I haven't accomplished, and I was looking forward to standing up on that big stage. That's what I really wanted. But I was taught family comes first, above anything else."
Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince is still under consideration for the Olympic roster.
Dallas Morning News: Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd is part of the Olympic basketball team charged with returning a gold medal to the U.S.
Officials with USA Basketball have begun to extend formal invitations in recent days. Sources confirmed that Kidd received a call Monday to let him know he would be part of the 12-man roster that competes for the U.S. in this summer's Beijing Games.
Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of USA Basketball, would not disclose the makeup of the team until it's announced. But Colangelo spoke highly of Kidd's credentials.
"Jason is a great candidate to be one of the 12 because he is a leader, he is the ultimate distributor at the point guard position, and he has great relationships with many of the guys who will be on this team," Colangelo said. "He's undefeated in international play in his career.
"If you had a ledger sheet and put down the plusses and minuses, it's pretty overwhelming on the plus side."
Kidd is 38-0 in international competition. He was a key part of the team that was undefeated in an Olympic qualifying tournament last summer.
Murdock wrote:D-Wade to be named to team USA ... bye bye USA you cna't win with D-Whistle ... this is bad move ... Deron Kidd Paul should be PG's then shooters like Redd and Miller you don't need Wade who has no jumper .. bad move by coach K or should i say Collangelo?
ESPN: Tayshaun Prince will play for the U.S. basketball team in the Beijing Games, an NBA person told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke Thursday on the condition of anonymity because the roster will not be officially announced until a Monday news conference in Chicago.
Last year, Prince played for a U.S. team that was led by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony during an unbeaten run in an Olympic qualifying tournament.
Earlier this month, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said the squad would be selected without a tryout.
ESPN: Barring a last-moment change of plans, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince and Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd are heading to Beijing.
Olympic and NBA sources have confirmed the five will be named to the 12-man Beijing Olympics roster Monday at a news conference in Chicago.
KSFY has learned that Mitchell native Mike Miller has not been selected for the 2008 Olympic men's basketball team.
The 12-man Olympic roster will be announced by USA basketball on Monday. And unfortunately the Memphis Grizzlies sharpshooter won't be on that select group.
Miller played with the US National Team last summer in the FIBA games. He would have provided the Olympic team with some outside shooting help.
But a source close to the situatiion says Mike was not selected for the team, which will begin training for the games in Bejing later this month.
Fox Sports: Jazz duo Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams will be named to Team USA for the Beijing Olympics, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo wouldn't confirm the report when talking to the newspaper.
"They are two highly thought-of candidates to be on the team," Colangelo said. "We've said that all along, but we're not pre-announcing anything."
Both have experience with Team USA, as Williams played last summer in Las Vegas at the Olympic qualifying tournament. Boozer sat out that tourney but played in the '04 Olympics, where the US took bronze.
The duo led the Jazz past the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs this season, winning the series 4-2. Utah lost by the same result to the Western Conference champion Lakers in the second round.
Boozer averaged 21.1 points and 10.4 rebounds while shooting 54.7 percent from the field during the season, and Williams contributed 18.8 points and 10.5 assists per game.
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