Sources: Wade, Prince to join Olympic team
By Larry Lage
Tayshaun Prince earned a spot on the USA Basketball team for the Beijing Games, a person in the NBA told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Dwyane Wade will join Prince on the team barring a last-minute change for the Miami Heat guard, according to a person familiar with the decision.
The two sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the roster will be announced Monday during a news conference in Chicago.
Wadeís Olympic selection first was reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Wade could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The 6-foot-4 guard missed 31 games last season because of injuries. He has been rehabbing since May 5 in Chicago, and hosted USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo there for a workout last week. Colangelo came away impressed, and apparently convinced that Wadeís surgically repaired left knee could hold up to the rigors of the Olympic schedule.
Earlier this month, Colangelo said the squad would be selected without a tryout.
The team will formally begin training in mid-July and is scheduled to start the Olympic series of games in Beijing Aug. 10. The gold medal game is Aug. 24, the day the games close.
Colangelo, on Thursday, said Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire had told him he was withdrawing from consideration. Stoudemire apparently was concerned about about pushing his body too hard after knee surgery in 2005 and 2006. Stoudemireís withdrawal was first reported by The Arizona Republic earlier Thursday.
iHe and I had had conversations along the way, and he wasnít sure,î Colangelo said. iI think the bottom line is that he was tentative. He didnít want to take any chances, so he took himself out of consideration.î
Last year, Prince played for a U.S. team that was led by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony during an unbeaten run in an Olympic qualifying tournament.
The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Prince gives the U.S. team a playoff-tested player who can slow down opponents with his defensive skills. He can also score occasionally with an array of runners and spin moves around the lane.
Prince helped the Detroit Pistons advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth straight year, making them the most consistent in the playoffs since the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s.
He has played in 114 playoff games to surpass the total of any player his first six NBA seasons.
Wade would be playing in his second Olympics; he was part of the bronze-medal winning squad in Athens in 2004. And his workouts in Chicago over the past few weeks have been going on with a gold medal at the forefront of his mind.
iIt would mean everything to me,î Wade told The Associated Press last month. iItís what we talked about after getting the bronze, right after getting that medal, and I really want to be part of the team that puts the USA back on top.î
Princeís Pistons teammate Chauncey Billups pulled himself out of consideration for a spot on the U.S. team earlier this week. The All-Star point guard might have had a hard time making the team anyway because of available guards such as Jason Kidd, Wade, Chris Paul and Deron Williams.