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James Harden, Damian Lillard lead USA Basketball candidates for FIBA World Cup roster

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James HardenDamian Lillard and Anthony Davis headline 20 candidates for USA Basketball’s 12-man FIBA World Cup roster.

The players will attend an Aug. 5-9 camp in Las Vegas. The final roster will be named Aug. 17 for September’s FIBA World Cup in China.

It’s the first opportunity for nations to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. will do so if it is one of the top two teams from the Americas at worlds.

The 20 players going to camp:

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings*
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans**
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets
James Harden, Houston Rockets**
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers**
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors*
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

*2016 Olympian
**2012 Olympian

Harden passed on the Rio Olympics. As did Lillard, who was a late addition to the Rio Olympic finalists list in February 2016, then withdrew from consideration four months later to rest. Davis missed the Games due to knee and shoulder injuries.

The U.S. is loaded with Olympic guard options, including every player from the All-NBA teams: Harden, Lillard, Walker, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Not so much at center. The three All-NBA selections were Serbian Nikola Jokic, Cameroon’s Joel Embiid and France’s Rudy Gobert.

No players from the Golden State Warriors are on the World Cup finalist list, but that’s not a shock. No players from the NBA Finals were finalists for the the last World Cup roster in 2014.

There is typically a lot of turnover on the U.S. roster from the World Cup to the Olympics. In the last cycle, four players carried over — DeMarcus CousinsDeMar DeRozanKlay Thompson and Irving.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will make his U.S. head coaching debut at the World Cup, succeeding Mike Krzyzewski, who led the Americans to Olympic titles in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

LeBron James, who skipped the Rio Olympics to rest after winning an NBA title, has said Popovich being in charge “factors a lot” in whether he will be available for Tokyo 2020. James called Popovich “a great mastermind of the game of basketball” in January 2017. James’ lone FIBA Worlds appearance was in 2006.

Curry, who has never played in the Olympics, wasn’t a finalist in 2012 and withdrew from consideration before the 2016 team was named.

MORE: How U.S. Olympic 3×3 teams will be chosen

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Anthony Davis rules out Rio Olympics

Anthony Davis
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New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis said Monday he will not play in the Olympics due to surgeries needed for knee and shoulder injuries, according to New Orleans media.

Davis was the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team at age 19, fresh off one season at the University of Kentucky.

He was the youngest U.S. basketball player to play in the Olympics since 1976.

Without Davis, the pool of potential big men for the Rio Olympic team includes Olympians Dwight Howard and Kevin Love from this list of 30 finalists named in January.

Also, Blake Griffin, who made the 2012 Olympic team but pulled out due to injury, opening the door for Davis to be named.

Plus, would-be first-time Olympians LaMarcus AldridgeDeMarcus CousinsKenneth FariedDraymond Green and DeAndre Jordan.

If Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Drummond do not make the 12-man team, every member of the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team will be 24 years and older for the first time.

MORE: Olympic basketball uniforms unveiled

Anthony Davis doubtful for Olympics

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have decided to shut down All-Star forward Anthony Davis for the rest of this season, and his future with U.S. Olympic team for this summer’s Rio Games is in doubt as well.

The team announced Sunday that Davis will soon undergo procedures to repair a recent knee injury, as well as a torn labrum in his left shoulder that has bothered him for much of the season.

With New Orleans virtually eliminated from playoff contention, coach Alvin Gentry said the club is taking a long-term approach to Davis’ injuries and that shutting him down now should ensure his return by next training camp.

Gentry said Davis, who was not available to speak with reporters on Sunday, is disappointed, but added, “He’s a smart kid and he understands that it’s better to go ahead and any problems that you have, you get them taken care of now and you’ve basically got seven months before training camp starts again.”

“That gives you a big window to do whatever you have to do and move forward with it,” Gentry added.

Davis left New Orleans’ previous game — a loss to Portland on Friday night — shortly before halftime with a left knee injury that appeared to be caused by a collision with Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum and Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday while Davis was setting a screen.

Gentry said Davis has been playing with his shoulder injury nearly the entire season, during which he averaged 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 61 games, and received his third straight Western Conference All-Star selection.

Asked if Davis’ injuries would prevent him from playing for the United States in the Summer Olympics, Gentry responded, “That I don’t know, but if I was a betting man, probably so.”

Davis, a fourth-year pro who turned 23 this month, has embraced opportunities to represent the United States in international competitions. He was a reserve for the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the London Games in 2012. When Team USA won the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Davis emerged as one its top players, ranking third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game, second in rebounds with 6.6 and first in blocks with 2.1.

New Orleans spokesman Matt Ryan said the team wasn’t ready Sunday evening to announce a precise diagnosis on Davis’ left knee. Davis was expected to discuss his health and offseason plans after Monday’s scheduled practice at team headquarters.

MORE: U.S. Olympic basketball uniform unveiled