Dwight Howard returning to USA Basketball

Dwight Howard returning to USA Basketball

After six years away, Houston Rockets star Dwight Howard will return to USA Basketball with an intent to play in the 2014 World Cup of Basketball, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Howard's return to the Team USA pool of players for the World Cup in Spain this summer could clear the way for the seven-time All-Star center to be part of the national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

USA Basketball is expected to soon announce a pool of players, including Howard, who will be available for USA Basketball training camp and the World Cup this summer. Howard could be part of an American frontcourt rotation that will likely include Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.

As part of Team USA, Howard won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing but has since spent his summers away from the national team. Howard, 28, played for Team USA in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the 2006 World Championships.

After signing with the Rockets as a free agent in July, Howard has returned to elite form with averages of 18 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.

For Howard, USA Basketball could have a cleansing impact on his reputation. In the past, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have found playing for USA Basketball a way to redeem themselves in the public eye.