LeBron, Paul, Wade visit Team USA

LAS VEGAS – LeBron James(notes), Dwyane Wade(notes), Chris Paul(notes) and Deron Williams(notes) won’t be playing in this summer’s world championships, but they did meet with the players who will be taking their places.

After James, Wade and Paul completed a lengthy workout with trainer Tim Grover on Friday morning, they spent about 45 minutes visiting with USA Basketball’s new senior national team. Williams, who is in town to see his brother play AAU basketball, also stopped by practice. All four are members of the 2008 Olympic gold-medal team who decided to not play in this summer’s world championships.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said he was happy to see his former players. He didn’t try to convince them to play.

“We shook hands, hugged,” Colangelo said. “I congratulated [James] on his free agency. He looks great. He was in great spirits. He looks in terrific shape. Dwyane looks terrific. CP looks like he put on a little weight, and he got a little bigger. But he said its muscle.”

Said forward Kevin Durant(notes): “I’m glad they came and showed us some love. At the same time, I’m glad we got the guys we have and we are ready to move forward.”

Team USA will have an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night to help the selection process for the final 12-player roster. The Blue team will include Chauncey Billups(notes), Rudy Gay(notes), Jeff Green(notes), Brook Lopez(notes), Kevin Love(notes), O.J. Mayo(notes), JaVale McGee(notes), Rajon Rondo(notes) and Russell Westbrook(notes). The White team has Durant, Tyson Chandler(notes), Stephen Curry(notes), Eric Gordon(notes), Danny Granger(notes), Andre Iguodala(notes), Lamar Odom(notes), Derrick Rose(notes) and Gerald Wallace(notes). Tyreke Evans(notes) will not play because of a minor left ankle injury.

Colangelo said he plans on taking 14 or 15 players to New York for training camp Aug. 10-15. He plans to make the roster cuts early next week.

“We want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt,” Colangelo said. “[Saturday] night’s game is important to a number of players. That’s the truth, and then we’ll deliberate.”


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Updated Friday, Jul 23, 2010