After another disappointing finish at the 2023 FIBA World Cup for Team USA that saw the Americans fail to medal for the second-consecutive time after losing to Canada on Sunday for third place, attention turns to redemption at the 2024 Paris Olympics. With most of the NBA’s top American talent not on the FIBA roster, the assumption is that when the Olympics roll around the U.S. can assemble a roster capable of capturing the country’s fifth-straight gold medal.
Invitations and official commitments are still a ways off, but there’s already been some campaigning behind the scenes. LeBron James has reportedly expressed interest in competing in the 2024 Olympics, per The Athletic’s Chams Charania, and he’s also trying to recruit some of his fellow superstars to suit up next to him in Paris next summer. James, who will be 39 for the Paris Olympics, has reached out to a bevy of stars that, if all committed, should dominate next summer. That list reportedly includes Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green.
James, Curry and Durant have all had conversations about playing for Team USA next summer, per Charania, and all three are viewing it as a “last dance” opportunity on the international level for the aging stars. James hasn’t competed in the Olympics since 2012, where alongside Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Durant went undefeated en route to a gold medal in London. Durant was a member of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team that won gold, and was named MVP of that squad.
Curry may have the most motivation of the three stars, as he has never played for Team USA at the Olympics, and winning a gold medal is the last thing missing from his Hall of Fame career.
Outside of that trio of stars, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard, De’Aaron Fox and Kyrie Irving have also expressed interest in suiting up for Team USA, per Charania. While initial interest seems to be there amongst the league’s biggest stars, a lot can change between now and next summer when a firm commitment will be needed. That’s especially true if any of their team’s make a deep run in the playoffs, which typically results in guys backing out so they don’t overdo it.
Still, though, if even half of the names listed above commit to next summer, Team USA will have significantly more talent than the group it sent to the World Cup. But if the U.S’s fourth-place finish taught us anything it’s that this team is in desperate need of size to contend on the international level. In several of Team USA’s World Cup games they were getting dominated on the offensive glass, resulting in second-chance opportunities that played a huge role in their loss to Germany in the semifinals.
And next summer in Paris, when Serbia likely has Nikola Jokic and France has Rudy Gobert and young phenom Victor Wembanyama, the U.S. is going to need size to contain those guys. Finding that size is going to be a tough task, as the pool of American big men isn’t overflowing with top-end talent. There’s still a chance that reigning MVP Joel Embiid could decide to suit up for Team USA, but he’s also weighing the option of playing for France next summer as well. If he plays for France, that’ll create an even bigger size disadvantage for the Americans.
There’s still plenty of time for Grant Hill and the rest of Team USA’s braintrust to figure out what a balanced roster looks like, but ensuring there’s enough size on the roster should be near the top of the list. But if LeBron, Curry and Durant all sign on to compete, it may not even matter as much given the amount of scoring that trio alone is capable of putting up.