The 2024 Olympics in Paris were a popular topic of discussion on media days around the NBA in Monday, with many of the league’s biggest American stars expressing interest in representing Team USA next summer.
Suns forward Kevin Durant, who won Olympic gold medals in 2012, 2016, and 2020, was adamant in addressing his 2024 plans, telling reporters, “I will play in the Olympics next year,” according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.
Durant’s Suns teammate Devin Booker also indicated that he would accept an invite from USA Basketball, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes, while KD’s former Warriors teammate Stephen Curry told reporters, “(I) definitely want to be on the team,” per Reynolds.
Lakers forward LeBron James, who was rumored last month to be recruiting his fellow U.S. stars to play at next year’s Olympics, confirmed his interest, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. His teammate Anthony Davis wasn’t prepared to commit yet, telling reporters that it’s too early to say whether he’ll play (Twitter link via Buha).
Of course, one of the biggest question marks for Team USA is Joel Embiid, who has yet to take part in an international competition and has citizenship in France and the U.S. in addition to his native Cameroon.
As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays (via Twitter), Embiid said today that he’d like to play in the Olympics but is still weighing his options. While the U.S. and France have already qualified, Cameroon will compete in a qualifying tournament next summer in the hopes of earning a spot in the 12-team Olympic field. Embiid, who was reportedly given an October 10 deadline by the French team, said he hopes to make his decision “in the next few days.”
“I love all three options,” Embiid said, per ESPN. “Cameroon, I’m born there, I’m from there and I always want to represent my country. But the goal is also to play in the Olympics. If we had a chance, or if we would qualify for the Olympics, that will be an easy decision. But that’s still up in the air. And I really do want to play in the Olympics.”
Here’s more on the potential Team USA roster, which can only accommodate 12 players:
- Celtics forward Jayson Tatum intends to play for the U.S. in Paris, tweets Jeff Goodman of The Messenger. His teammate Jaylen Brown also expressed interest, telling reporters that there’s “no greater honor” than representing his country and adding that it would be “great” to play in next year’s Olympics (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe).
- Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard said he would consider playing for Team USA in the Paris Olympics, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
- Bucks forward Khris Middleton and center Brook Lopez (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic), Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (Twitter link via Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files), Rockets guard Fred VanVleet (Twitter link via Chris Mannix of SI.com), Bulls guard Zach LaVine (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago), and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (Twitter link via Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports) are among the players who indicated they’d accept invites from Team USA if they received them. Heat big man Bam Adebayo, Suns guard Bradley Beal, Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, and Knicks forward Julius Randle also fall into that group, per a report from ESPN.
- Clippers forward Paul George, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, and Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma expressed some interest in playing for Team USA, while Heat wing Jimmy Butler didn’t rule out the possibility, according to ESPN.