Bibby's exit creates need for PG
Sacramento's Mike Bibby is the latest original member of Team USA to surrender his Olympic spot, ESPN.com has learned.
Bibby had been considered on the fence by USA Basketball for weeks, but sources say the selection committee has formally moved on in hopes of securing commitments from four players to fill out the roster.
Six replacements have already been chosen to join Duncan and Iverson: Cleveland's LeBron James, New York's Stephon Marbury, New Jersey's Richard Jefferson, Detroit's Ben Wallace and the Phoenix duo of Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire.
Marbury is the only recognized point guard in that group. Although James and Iverson are also capable of handling the ball, Wade's odds of earning an 11th-hour invitation have thus increased, especially with USAB's emphasis on youth in the wake of losing so many veterans.
Wade isn't a lock, though, because he's more of a combo guard than a pure point. Minnesota's Sam Cassell would have been a more obvious choice to replace Bibby, after his first All-Star season, but Cassell is expected to undergo hip surgery after hip and back ailments severely limited his participation in the Western Conference finals. New Orleans' Baron Davis and Denver's Andre Miller have yet to be mentioned as possibilities after both struggled on the American squad that finished an embarrassing sixth at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis.
Milwaukee's Michael Redd and Detroit's Rip Hamilton -- both excellent perimeter shooters -- are stronger contenders than Wade for a roster berth, sources said, after Team USA coach Larry Brown announced that he hopes to have a proven "zone buster" or two at his disposal.
In Anthony's case, sources added, the selection committee is interested but isn't sure how much playing time would be left for him with James, Jefferson and Marion essentially playing the same position.
Bibby, Orlando's Tracy McGrady, Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal and the L.A. Lakers' Karl Malone are "core" members of the original roster who have formally pulled out in recent days for various reasons, be it injury or security fears or simply a desire for offseason rest.
The Lakers' Kobe Bryant, New Jersey's Jason Kidd and Seattle's Ray Allen were earlier withdrawals from the core group, which was assembled during the 2002-03 season in hopes of the group establishing some continuity before heading to Athens.
The Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal, Minnesota's Kevin Garnett, Toronto's Vince Carter, New Jersey's Kenyon Martin and the L.A. Clippers' Elton Brand have also declined invitations, with reasons for pullouts or unavailability ranging from injuries (Kidd and Brand) to forthcoming weddings (Garnett and Carter) to childbirth (Allen) to the likelihood that Bryant will have court commitments in Colorado this summer.
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