Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook once again find their names on the initial 30-man Team USA roster, something that can’t be said about Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade or Damian Lillard.
Durant and Westbrook helped Team USA claim the gold medal in London at the 2012 Olympics, which doesn’t seem that far back. Should they make the final 12-man roster, they will compete for a second gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this August 5-21.
“This selection process was difficult from the start, and obviously it is only going to get more difficult as we look to get to the official, 12-man roster,” Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I’m excited about the possibilities this team has. Among the finalists we have multiple players who won gold medals at the Olympic or World Cup level. The roster of finalists features incredible talent, great balance, outstanding leadership, and I believe like we had with our previous teams, this team will have a special chemistry.”
The 30 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team include:
LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs);
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks);
Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors);
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards);
Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls);
Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies);
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings);
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors);
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans);
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors);
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons);
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder);
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets);
Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings);
Paul George (Indiana Pacers);
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors);
Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers);
James Harden (Houston Rockets);
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz);
Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets);
Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors);
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers);
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers);
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers);
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs);
Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers);
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers);
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors);
John Wall (Washington Wizards);
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
In addition to Durant and Westbrook, Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams will once again aide head coach Mike Krzyzewski while Thunder head athletic trainer Joe Sharpe will lead the Men’s Team in an equivalent role.
Twelve nations will compete in the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball competition. Nations qualified for the Olympic competition include the host country, Brazil; the United States, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup; Africa zone champ Nigeria; Venezuela (gold medalist) and Argentina (silver medalist) from FIBA Americas; FIBA Asia gold medalist China; Spain (gold medalist) and Lithuania (silver medalist) from FIBA Europe; and FIBA Oceania gold medalist Australia.
The remaining three Olympic qualifying spots will be determined in 2016 through three FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. A total of 18 nations, six teams in each tournament, will compete July 4-10, 2016, for the right to advance to Rio. Nations expected to compete for the final Olympic berths are Angola, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, Senegal, Serbia, and the three nations that win the bid to host one of these Olympic qualifiers. The winner from each of the three FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will punch its ticket to the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball tournament.