The reason that USA Basketball held a four-day mini-camp in Las Vegas last week that featured 28 current and rising NBA stars (and a couple from the college ranks) is due to the fact that there’s plenty of uncertainty as to who will return to the team to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Program chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski talked multiple times about the need to keep a fluid pool of players, because everything from injury to personal matters could keep anyone from ultimately participating two years from now.
We’ve already gotten word that LeBron James could be out, and the same was thought to be true for Chris Paul. But thanks to the return of Krzyzewski to the sidelines for another shot at a gold medal, Paul is apparently willing to reconsider.
From Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com:
Chris Paul has changed his mind and is leaning toward playing in the 2016 Olympics.
The Los Angeles Clippers point guard, who was on the 2008 and 2012 gold medal teams, said he was leaning heavily toward bypassing the 2016 Games — until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski announced he was returning to coach the team.
“If it had been another coach than Coach K, I was prepared to be done,” Paul told ESPN.com.
It’s worth noting that the only quote from the player said to be making the decision here is non-committal, at best.
But assuming the conversation that didn’t make it into the story verbatim has Paul indeed leaning toward returning for 2016, he would join an extremely crowded backcourt that would be likely to include Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, among others.
Paul has been a part of two USA gold medal runs through the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, and has been a part of the USA Basketball program consistently since appearing on a developmental team back in 2002.