Through league sources, ESPN.com has learned the identities of the NBA players on the preliminary roster for the U.S. national team, whose director, Jerry Colangelo, will make the news public Sunday.
The list includes All-Stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Gilbert Arenas, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce, but it does not include a player -- Iverson -- who was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and had expressed strong interest in playing again for USA Basketball.
Colangelo has not revealed all the players he has invited, but sources around the NBA helped ESPN.com compile the following list of players who have been asked to report to training camp in Las Vegas in mid-July and who are expected to attend.
The entire roster consists of Carmelo Anthony, Arenas, Battier, Billups, Bosh, Bruce Bowen, Elton Brand, Bryant, Dwight Howard, Josh Howard, James, Antawn Jamison, Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Brad Miller, Chris Paul, Pierce, Michael Redd, Ridnour, Amare Stoudemire and Wade.
In addition, Shaquille O'Neal has a standing invitation to join. And Lamar Odom, who was passed over when the first round of invitations went out, reportedly will accept the spot that opened when Lewis declined his invite earlier this week. It was reported that Michael Redd had declined an invitation but Colangelo has now said that was a matter of miscommunication. One more spot could be filled Sunday when Colangelo announces the training camp invitees.
Three young players will be added to bring the training camp roster to 25, with Gonzaga's Adam Morrison, Duke's J.J. Redick and Indianapolis high school star Greg Oden currently the leading candidates to get those spots.
The list of invitees includes seven of the NBA's eight leading scorers (Iverson is the exception) and two of the top three rebounders (the exception is Ben Wallace, who was interviewed by Colangelo but did not want to play.)
Billups will attend training camp but is not expected to compete at the 2006 World Championship in Japan because his wife, Piper, is due to give birth to their third child in late July or early August.
The Americans plan to take 15 players to Japan (including three who would be inactive for the Worlds).
Taking an educated guess, Bryant, James, Wade, Bosh and Marion would seem to be virtual locks for Japan, along with Miller (the only true center) and Arenas and Paul (the top two point guards). Brand and Dwight Howard would seem to have the edge for spots nine and 10 because of the team's need for size (we're keeping Stoudemire out of that group because he is recovering from knee surgery), which would leave Pierce, Anthony, Battier, Bowen, Josh Howard, Jamison, Johnson, Odom and Ridnour competing for the final two spots on the active roster. Colangelo has said he would like to include at least one defense-minded role player on the active roster, and it would appear Bowen, Josh Howard and Battier will vie for that role.
Those players who do not go to Japan will remain on the larger national team roster through the 2008 Olympics. If the U.S. team does not win the World Championship, the team will regroup in 2007 for an Olympic qualifying tournament in the Americas zone.
The U.S. team will be coached by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who will be assisted by Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Portland Trail Blazers' Nate McMillan and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University.
The World Championship begins Aug. 19, with the Americans in a preliminary round group in Sapporo, Japan, that includes China, Slovenia, Puerto Rico, Italy and Senegal. The U.S. team is planning a pretournament trip to South Korea and China to play exhibition games.
Training camp is scheduled to take place July 18 to 25 before the team takes a five-day break. It will then reconvene for an exhibition game in Las Vegas, likely against Puerto Rico, before the team plane leaves for China on Aug. 4 with 15 players aboard.