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GM wants rookie to take a break

DENVER -- Denver Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe has
mixed feelings about the possibility of Carmelo Anthony playing in
the Athens Olympics in August.

This week, Orlando Magic guard Tracy McGrady decided against
playing for Team USA, leading to speculation about who might replace him.

Anthony, who turns 20 on Saturday, played in 86 of 87 games
during his rookie season. Playing on the U.S. team would reduce his
recovery time before the 2004-05 season.

"Absolutely, it's a concern," Vandeweghe said Thursday. "You
never want to deny a kid a chance to play for his country, but my
responsibility is to make the Nuggets better, so that's a definite
concern."

Anthony said he would not want to play in the Olympics if he was
just going to sit on the bench, but later said he would accept an
invitation regardless of playing time.

Anthony's agent, Calvin Andrews, said he had not heard from USA
Basketball. He also said Anthony is not campaigning for a roster
spot.

"It's not something that we as a group would be pushing for him
to do, but if the opportunity came up, it would be an honor and he
would love to do it," Andrews said.

Vandeweghe said he would not stand between Anthony and the
Olympics but expressed concern about how the demands might affect
his play next season. Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said the risk of
injury is not a major concern.

"I can't speak for Carmelo and how he feels, but to have an
opportunity to represent your country in the Olympics I would think
would be a great honor for anyone," he said. "You can get hurt
doing anything at any time, so I don't worry too much about that."