CLEVELAND — LeBron James is focused on trying to win the gold trophy with the basketball on top and not concerning himself yet with playing for a gold medal.
James said he has not decided whether he will play for the U.S. this summer in the Rio Olympics and will wait until the NBA Finals are over. The Cavaliers superstar also said that the withdrawals of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and others will have no bearing on whether he plays.
“My decision has never been on anyone either playing on the team or being invited or not playing,” James said Tuesday afternoon. “I haven’t made a decision yet and I probably will make it right after the season’s over.”
Jerry Colangelo, the USA Basketball chairman, told The Associated Press that he is waiting on James before he completes the U.S. team’s roster. Colangelo said he’s down to 14 or 15 players under consideration for the 12-player team. Carmelo Anthony also hasn’t fully committed yet.
The team is expected to be announced June 27.
Curry, Paul, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge have decided not to play either because of injury or other factors. Curry said on Tuesday it had nothing to do with concerns over the Zika virus, but that he wanted to rest his body.
“It was assessing my body and knowing what it was going to take for me to finish this playoff run and considering the injuries I’ve had the last few weeks in the playoffs,” Curry said. “And the short time frame between the Finals and Team USA training camp and then the time frame after that for me personally was going to be a lot to get my body ready for another year coming up.”
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who is a finalist for the team, also said he would wait until after the Finals to decide if he would like to play. Warriors guard Klay Thompson already decided that he would if he is chosen.
“I hope to play for Team USA,” Thompson said. “It would be a great honor. Just thinking about the Olympics gives me butterflies, just because that’s a dream I’ve always had as a kid. I figure when this is over I’ll get a couple of weeks off and that’s all I need.
“For me, it’s about when I do have down time, just to really get off my feet, enjoy it. But it would be an honor to play for Team USA and I’d love to go to Brazil.”