Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge named finalists for Team USA Olympic roster

Final 12-player roster for Rio 2016 games revealed this summer

(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – USA Basketball announced the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge have made the cut for its 30-player finalists list for Team USA’s Olympic team.

USA Basketball will make its final selections this summer for the 12-player roster that will compete in the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics and attempt to win a third straight medal.

Leonard is having a breakout, career year while Aldridge has consistently been one of the NBA’s best low post players.

Joining Leonard and Aldridge are three-time Olympians LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

If James and Anthony are on the team, they would become the first American men to play in four Olympics.

James and Anthony, who won bronze in 2004 before leading the U.S. to gold in Beijing and London, have already joined Hall of Famer and Spurs legend David Robinson as the only U.S. men to play in three Olympics. Chris Paul could join that list this summer.

Here’s the full list of candidates for Rio:

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder); Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers); Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Dwight Howard and James Harden (Houston Rockets); Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); John Wall and Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); and Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz).  

"The depth of talent that exists in the national team program is extraordinary. Repeating as gold medalists at the 2016 Olympics will not be easy, but we feel confident that we have 30 finalists who offer amazing basketball abilities and special versatility," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.

Kobe Bryant, who is retiring after this season, took himself out of the running for a third Olympics this weekend.

Colangelo has said the Americans could send their strongest team yet to the Olympics, and it could certainly be their most experienced one. The pool of finalists includes 18 players who have won Olympic or world championships, and seven players who have played at least 30 international games.

"This selection process was difficult from the start, and obviously it is only going to get more difficult as we look to get to the official, 12-man roster," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I'm excited about the possibilities this team has."

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