Bryant still hopes to play in Worlds

DENVER – Kobe Bryant(notes) said he’s still planning to play for Team USA in this summer’s World Championships – if his health permits.

LeBron James(notes) and Dwyane Wade(notes) announced recently they’re leaning toward skipping the World Championships in Turkey. Both will be free agents this summer and have cited business and family commitments as reasons why they might not play.

When asked Thursday if he plans to play, Bryant said: “As far as I know. Obviously, I got a couple of health issues, one being a cracked finger. We’ll see how it goes.”

Bryant said he had no problem with James and Wade not playing.

“They’re grown men,” Bryant said. “They make their own decisions. At the end of the day, they’re going to listen to what their bodies are telling them and make that call. But it’s something I won’t talk to them about.”

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo recently told Yahoo! Sports that any player who skips prior Team USA commitments “without a legit issue” does so with the risk they might be passed over for the 2012 London Olympics. Colangelo’s comments didn’t go over well with James, who cited his lengthy commitment to USA Basketball.

“That’s Mr. C’s call,” Bryant said. “It’s his show. He’s done a great job of running it so far. That’s on him to make that determination.”

If James or Wade don’t play, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant(notes) – who wasn’t on the Beijing roster – could have a large role in Turkey.

“We don’t have a shortage for talent. That’s for sure,” Bryant said. “That’s never been our problem. Our problem is having a group of guys that play together and play well together. That’s been our biggest issue.”