Sources: Team USA to train in NYC
NEW YORK -- Team USA is in negotiations to hold training camp in New York City instead of Las Vegas in August, and to play at least one exhibition game at Madison Square Garden, ESPN.com learned Wednesday.
No agreements have been finalized, but sources said the U.S. federation is wholeheartedly committed to the idea of placing the team in the nation's largest media market prior to its departure for the World Championship in Turkey Aug. 26-Sept. 12.
Team USA still plans to conduct a mini-camp in Las Vegas in mid-July, but there is a strong possibility that several key members of the team who will be unrestricted free agents this summer (including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) will be excused from the Las Vegas portion of camp.
Wade has publicly hedged on his commitment to playing and USA Basketball insiders also have concerns regarding how many members of their eight-man core (James, Wade, Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard) that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics might back off the verbal commitments they gave to team director Jerry Colangelo last February.
The Las Vegas mini-camp will allow the U.S. federation to establish a group of potential replacements should any of the team's veterans decline to compete. But for all practical purposes, those eight "core" players need not make up their minds until the second week of August.
The New York portion of training camp is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 10-16. The team is expected to attend induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., when the members of the original Dream Team are going into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
The American team will also play a series of exhibitions after leaving New York, possibly in Spain and Greece, before their arrival in Turkey. Negotiations regarding those plans are still ongoing.
Chris Sheridan is a senior writer for ESPN.com.