On Monday, Team USA Basketball announced the names of the pool of NBA players who will be candidates for selection to the Olympic squad for this summer’s games in London. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo revealed the members of the 20-man list who will be considered for the London Games, 18 of whom were featured on either the 2008 Olympic team in Beijing or the 2010 World Championship team.
The final roster will be whittled down to 12—along with six alternates—by June 12.
The returning players are Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams. The new additions to international competition will be LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin.
Those omitted from the pool include Stephen Curry—who, along with Danny Granger, was left off from the 2010 World Championship team—and Carlos Boozer, Tayshaun Prince and Michael Redd, who were all excluded from the Beijing unit.
The news was particularly difficult for Curry, who stated he was “very disappointed” by the roster announcement. While it is unfortunate for Curry’s personal professional goals, in conjunction with his patriotic desire to represent his country in the biggest athletic stage in the world, the deletion is good for Golden State Warriors fans.
Curry currently is resting his severely sprained right ankle—his seventh such injury in the past 15 months. The third-year point guard missed eight games in the 2010-11 campaign due to ankle injuries, and so far this season he has been sidelined for eight games as well. This trend has been extremely frustrating for Curry—as well as for teammates, management and fans.
That’s why it was music to Warriors’ ears that Curry’s name was not called out among the Team USA participants.
The rigors of the extra training camps, scrimmages and games would only increase the potential for Curry to reinjure himself—again. Given how frequently so far this season Curry has turned his ankle, it’s likely playing with the national team could only harm his health even more. There’s much more that is at stake for him beyond an Olympic gold medal, which he can certainly vie for in the future (he’s only 23 years old.)
After all, for the sake of his professional team, Curry needs to make sure that this offseason he rehabilitates his ankle. And for the sake of the Warriors, they’d like to see him at full strength for an additional reason: A 100 percent healthy Curry increases his trade value.
Rumors have abounded in recent months about the feasibility of the Warriors trading for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. One of the major trading chips that Golden State has is Curry. However, with Curry pestered by his nagging ankle problems, the attractiveness in acquiring him has decreased. His fragile health obviously has teams cautious when inquiring about his availability.
The Warriors would certainly like Curry at his highest possible trade value; thus they hope he doesn’t do anything that would invite worse damage to his ankle.
Yes, it is a shame that Curry isn’t considered among America’s top backcourt players—but the list of guards is incredibly long. But for the interest of both his own long-term health and that of the Warriors, it’s best that he was not chosen to represent his country in the Olympics just yet.
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