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Thursday 24 June 2021 08:36, UK
James Harden is out, Jerami Grant and Zach LaVine are in and the Team USA men's basketball roster is set, according to reports on Wednesday evening.
Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN that Harden, of the Brooklyn Nets, will spend the summer taking care of his troublesome hamstring injury. Harden had reportedly committed to play two days earlier.
The Athletic reported that Detroit Pistons forward Grant and Chicago Bulls guard LaVine committed to play in the Tokyo Games, which begin July 23.
According to multiple outlets, and pending further adjustments, the full, 12-man roster includes:
The U.S. won the men's basketball gold medal at the past three Olympic Games, the most recent of which was in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro.
Only Durant and Green return for Team USA from the 2016 group.
Among the prominent players not joining the U.S. Olympic team are Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and the Warriors' Stephen Curry.
Erik Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich have often spoken of how much they enjoy coaching against one another. This summer, they're teaming up to coach with, and against, one another.
Spoelstra has accepted an invitation to join the USA Basketball coaching staff for its Olympic preparations in Las Vegas next month. The Miami Heat coach, who went head-to-head against Popovich and San Antonio in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals, will be involved coaching the U.S. select team: a group of players that will be brought in to practice and scrimmage against the Olympic roster.
"I really just want to be a part of the program," Spoelstra said. "I'm always pushing myself to get better in the off-seasons; I go visit people and all that stuff. This is going to be a basketball immersion. I mean, the dinners, the team meetings... for where I am right now in my career, I think this is the perfect thing for a summer of development."
It's Spoelstra's first stint with USA Basketball. He and Popovich - the U.S. Olympic coach for the first time - have been talking about this opportunity for several months, though it wasn't finalised until the past couple of weeks and after the Heat were eliminated from the NBA playoffs.
Popovich is the longest-tenured coach with his current NBA team, taking over in San Antonio in 1996. Spoelstra has the second-longest active tenure, having just completed his 13th season as coach of the Heat.
"I really admire what he's done, coming up through the ranks and how he's matriculated through the different levels in the league and ended up in a position he's in," Popovich said this spring of Spoelstra, who started in the Heat video room under Pat Riley and has been in Miami ever since.
"He's worked so hard, done such a great job, and it's just kind of thrilling to see somebody achieve that."