Stoudemire will be added to U.S. roster

Updated: May 13, 2004, 1:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Amare Stoudemire will get his wish and will be added to the U.S. Olympic basketball team, NBA sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Wednesday.

The Suns forward had hoped to gain some 11th-hour consideration as the selection committee scrambles to fill a roster in flux. As reported by ESPN.com last month, officials have been operating under the premise that Minnesota's Kevin Garnett will not accept their invitation to join the squad. Karl Malone is also expected to relinquish his roster spot, and Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal is considered a long shot to accept his invitation.

Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal is another big man who is at least considering a pullout, after battling through various ailments throughout the season and emerging as one of the first NBA personalities to publicly voice concerns held privately by many of the American stars regarding the level of security that can be provided in Greece.

Asked about security fears, Stoudemire recently told Stein: "You're taking a chance in anything you do in life. I just want to play for my country."

Stoudemire joins LeBron James, Stephon Marbury and Shawn Marion as the newest additions to an American team that will be without many of the top players originally selected or invited.

Kenyon Martin of the New Jersey Nets told reporters Wednesday that he would not be willing to accept an invitation, citing a lingering knee injury and his unsettled contract status as an upcoming restricted free agent.

The unofficial U.S. roster now includes Tim Duncan, O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Mike Bibby, Marbury, Marion, James, Stoudemire and Richard Jefferson.

USA Basketball is awaiting definitive word from Shaquille O'Neal on whether he will play. Conversations with several people in the American federation have found varying levels of optimism or pessimism regarding O'Neal's intentions.

McGrady and Bibby have indicated they're having second thoughts about attending the Olympics, scheduled for Aug. 13-29 in Athens. Among the players being considered to replace them are Sam Cassell, Ron Artest, Carmelo Anthony and Lamar Odom.

"You can't be mad at somebody who doesn't want to play," Cassell said. "It's up to everybody's choice whether they want to play. Some people might have feelings about security. Personally, I don't think that's going to be a problem."

The Lakers' Kobe Bryant has already relinquished his roster spot, citing potential court obligations in Colorado this off-season, and Toronto's Vince Carter turned down the opportunity to join the squad because he'll soon be getting married, leaving USA Basketball with holes to fill on the perimeter.

New Jersey's Jason Kidd and Seattle's Ray Allen, both members of Team USA's original nine-man core, have also said they're unlikely to be available for the Athens Games -- Kidd because of health issues; Allen because his fiancée is expecting their first child in early September.

Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein was used in this report.

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