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Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry lead updated USA Basketball finalists for World Cup

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Kemba WalkerKyle Lowry and Khris Middleton are the lone remaining 2019 NBA All-Stars among U.S. candidates for next month’s FIBA World Cup, the first opportunity for nations to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Half of the original 20 players named to next week’s camp in Las Vegas, used to determine the 12-man World Cup roster, withdrew since June 10. That included the headliners James HardenDamian Lillard and Anthony Davis, with Harden and Lillard reportedly opting out to focus on the NBA season.

Lowry and Harrison Barnes are the two players of the revised 15 finalists with Olympic experience.

The final roster will be named Aug. 17 for September’s FIBA World Cup in China. The U.S. will qualify for the Tokyo Games if it is one of the top two teams from the Americas at worlds. There is also a last-chance qualifying tournament next year.

The original 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

The revised 15 players going to camp:

Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Harrison Barnes
, Sacramento Kings*
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors*
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls

*2016 Olympian
**2012 Olympian

San Antonio 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.

It has become custom for the World Cup team to include few Olympians. The 2014 roster included two players from the London Olympics (Davis, Harden). The 2010 World Cup team had zero Beijing Olympians.

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

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Nick Nurse looks to end Canada’s Olympic basketball drought

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Nick Nurse, who just coached the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title, will now try to lead Canada to its first Olympic men’s basketball berth since 2000.

Nurse said Sunday that “it’s just about done” that he will be named Canada’s head coach ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China in September.

The top two teams from North and South America at the World Cup will qualify for the Tokyo Games (there is also a last-chance qualifying event next year).

The U.S. is the overwhelming favorite to win the World Cup and grab one of those spots. Canada has the talent to join the Americans, but it hasn’t gotten the job done in recent Olympic qualifying.

Four years ago, Canada lost winner-goes-to-Rio games to Venezuela and France.

Canada could easily field a starting five of NBA players, led by 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray and former Duke star R.J. Barrett, a projected top-10 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Nurse, 51, was an assistant coach for Great Britain at the 2012 London Games.

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

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U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team solidifies 10 of 12 roster spots

Carmelo Anthony, Paul George
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NEW YORK (AP) — A person with knowledge of the details says Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks has agreed to chase a fourth Olympic men’s basketball medal, while Toronto teammates Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will also play for the U.S.

The person told The Associated Press on Thursday that the Americans were still awaiting decisions from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving but had solidified 10 of their 12 roster spots. Later Thursday, Cleveland.com reported that James will not go to Rio.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the roster discussions were to remain private. The roster is to be selected Monday.

James’ absence leaves Anthony alone in trying to become the most decorated men’s basketball Olympian ever.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan are also committed to play for the two-time defending champions in Rio.

Kawhi Leonard passed on the opportunity to play, with the San Antonio Spurs announcing his withdrawal in a news release.

“This was a very difficult decision. It’s an honor to have been considered for the team and I hope that in the future I will have the chance to represent my country by playing for USA Basketball,” Leonard said.

Anthony won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and a bronze in 2004. He, James and Hall of Famer David Robinson are the only Americans to play in three Olympics.

Anthony previously said he planned to play, telling AP recently: “Listen, I’ve been with USA Basketball since I was 16, 17 years old. Can’t stop now.”

DeRozan played for the Americans when they won the gold medal at the Basketball World Cup in 2014, but Lowry’s inclusion on the roster was a surprise, since he wasn’t even in the Americans’ roster pool of 31 players.

But with Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook all withdrawing, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said earlier this month he wouldn’t rule out adding another guard.

He may even need to add another if Irving declines to play. Irving was the MVP of the 2014 Basketball World Cup and would probably start for the Americans if he opted to play after helping the Cavaliers win the NBA title.

Yahoo Sports first reported Thursday that Anthony, Lowry and DeRozan would play.

Durant won gold in 2012. George, Green, Thompson, Cousins, Butler and Jordan would all be making their Olympic debuts.

MORE: Five Olympic questions with Larry Bird