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USA Basketball announces 12-man Olympic roster for London Games

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

LAS VEGAS – LeBron James will make one guarantee about Team USA in the upcoming Olympics in London: They will be fast.

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James Harden was among the final players to make Team USA's 12-man roster. (Getty Images)

USA Basketball announced the final 12-man roster for the London Games, and it's clear the U.S. won't lack for speed or versatility. Of the final two spots that appeared to be up for grabs, USA Basketball officials chose a pair of wings – James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers – and passed on adding forward Anthony Davis, the top overall pick of last month's NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets.

Harden joins Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on Team USA, the first time three players from the same NBA team have been selected. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka also will play for Spain's national team.

Joining James, Iguodala and the Thunder's trio on Team USA will be Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Kevin Love.

"There is a lot of dynamics with our lineups with guys that play a lot of positions," James said. "K.D. can play [positions] two through five. I can play one through five if I have to. Iguodala can do it as well. 'Melo can play multiple positions. The list goes on. It should be fun."

[Also: Kobe Bryant says Steve Nash makes Lakers a title threat]

With a handful of players, including Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, withdrawing from consideration because of injuries, 10 of the roster slots appeared to be locked up heading into Friday's start of training camp, leaving five players – Harden, Iguodala, Davis, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon – to compete for the final two openings. The absence of Howard, Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge has left Team USA with a shortage of big men. Davis was a candidate, but sprained his ankle during a workout a week ago and lacked the international experience of other players.

Gordon was passed over because Team USA already had plenty of guards and sources said he was more rusty than other candidates after playing just nine games last season because of a knee injury. Gay would have had a hard time getting minutes at power forward. Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski liked Iguodala's defense during the 2010 world championships and values Harden's versatility. Griffin provides some needed size.

USA Basketball officials were discussing with the Hornets whether to add Davis to the Select Team that will train against the national team.

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This will be LeBron James' third Olympics. He helped Team USA win the gold medal in 2008. (AP)

"The 15 guys that we started camp with all could have been on this trip together," James said. "Eric, Rudy and Anthony are three great basketball players. You hate that there is a limitation on guys you can take. The guys that are here are all excited and look forward to the challenge."

Team USA will play an exhibition against the Dominican Republic on July 12 in Las Vegas. The U.S. also will play exhibitions in Washington, D.C.; Manchester, England; and Barcelona, Spain; before arriving in London.

Team USA opens the Olympics against France on July 29.

This will be James' third Olympics. He says the 2012 Team USA roster has a nice blend of experience and young – quick – legs after USA Basketball officials chose players from the roster that won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the younger roster that won gold at the 2010 world championships.

"The first team in '04, we were put together really fast. The pieces didn't fit right and it showed in our play," James said. "In '08, it was 'The Redeem Team,' and guys had committed to the Olympics for a long time. That's why we were able to win that gold because we were all about that chemistry.

"It's going to take some practices, it's going to take some exhibition games, [but] we have a lot of guys in our prime and we have a lot of young guys and hungry guys who are always looking forward to a challenge."

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