Team USA warns players near cut line
NEW YORK -- After a week of workouts in Las Vegas, 15 players received invites to another USA Basketball training camp.
A few of them got warnings, too.
The Americans will head from New York to Europe for the final steps of their preparations for the world championships in Turkey, and some players may be in danger of getting a ticket home instead.
"Certain players were told that they're right on the bubble and that New York is really very critical and important to them in terms of making the final roster," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.
The team returns to the court Tuesday for the start of six days of work in New York that will culminate with its lone exhibition game on home soil, a matchup with France at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Colangelo refused to specify which players are in danger, though guards and wings face the most competition because the team is loaded at those positions while lacking big bodies in the middle.
Three players were cut after the Las Vegas camp, so the remaining candidates are: forwards Kevin Durant, Lamar Odom, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Jeff Green and Kevin Love; guards Chauncey Billups, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala, Eric Gordon and Stephen Curry; and centers Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee.
McGee replaced New Jersey's Brook Lopez, who was forced to pull out as he struggles to return to shape after a recent bout with mono. The Americans were already thin up front after the losses of All-Stars Amare Stoudemire and David Lee, plus Robin Lopez, Brook's twin brother.
Those withdrawals ensured the Americans will be a perimeter-oriented team and perhaps be forced to use some players outside their normal positions.
"There's some changes that occurred, and we have to give it a little bit more time to see how we can get 12 guys to fit a system," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Colangelo said eight or nine spots seem set, leaving three up for grabs. Krzyzewski and his staff will get a look at the players in a number of situations: workouts against a select team of college players, a scrimmage against China, and the game against the French.
But they may not make any decisions before the team departs next Monday for Madrid, where the Americans will face Lithuania and Spain before moving on to Athens to play Greece. Colangelo and Krzyzewski have indicated they may bring more than 12 to those games and make their final choices there.
The Americans play their opening game at the world championships Aug. 28.
"We could come out of New York with more than 12 because we really don't need to turn in a roster until we get to Turkey," Krzyzewski said. "So it's a lot of time before you have to turn in 12, and if we continue to get the spirit of cooperation, we might postpone a decision and give as many guys an opportunity as possible and a little bit more insurance that we'll have 12 healthy guys once we get to Istanbul."
The camp in New York takes place during the "World Basketball Festival," organized by Nike and USA Basketball. It includes an appearance Thursday by the Americans at Radio City Music Hall, followed by a musical performance, and ends with a doubleheader Sunday at Madison Square Garden. China faces Puerto Rico after the U.S.-France game.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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