Love among 20 U.S. Olympic finalists
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- January 16, 2012 - 3:02 PM
It was a sure thing anyway, but just to make it official:
USA Basketball today named Kevin Love one of 20 finalists for the U.S. Olympic team that will play in London next summer.
Only 12 ultimately will be chosen.
Love joins an esteemed list that includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and others.
Love will be competing against big men such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom for one of the final big-man slots.
"Tremendous honor," Love said after this morning's shootaround. "Hopefully, when the list is dwindled down, I'm still there. Hopefully, I'll continue to play better and hopefully they'll see something in me. But it's a tremendous honor. Anytime you get a chance to represent your country, wear USA across your chest, red white and blue, get out there sing the national anthem, compete for a gold medal, all of that...
"It's a big deal to me and allows me to be a little bit patriotic."
Love was a lock to make the finalists' list because of his participation in the 2010 World Championships, where his U.S. team won gold.
USA Basketball increased their number of finalists from 18 to 20. When asked why, team managing director Jerry Colangelo said the impending free agency of a number of players affected the decision.
As of now, Love could be a restricted free agent come the time the Olympic finalists convene for camp on July 6.
That is if the Wolves don't sign him to a contract extension by Jan. 25.
Ricky Rubio will play for Spain in London and J.J. Barea could be there if Puerto Rico advances during a qualifying tournament in Venezuela that starts July 2.
On a couple other topics leading to tonight's game against Sacramento at Target Center:
* Barea and Michael Beasley will not play tonight.
Barea hoisted up shot after shot after this morning's shoot after missing games Friday and Saturday because of a sprained left ankle.
He said he will try to practice hard tomorrow and hopes to play Wednesday.
* Beasley is out of his walking boot and he walked and shot with Malcolm Lee after the shootaround.
He didn't appear to do any running or real movement on that sprained foot, which leads me to believe he probably won't play Wednesday against Detroit, either, and will be re-evalauted after that.
It was the first time I've seen Lee move and shoot since his knee surgery on Dec. 30.
He said last week that he hoped to be back on the court practicing in two weeks, which would mean next week.
* Martell Webster just tweeted this afternoon "CLEARED!!!!!!"
That means his doctor's appointment in Portland today went as he had hoped and he has been cleared to participate in contact practices.
Now it's a question of how long it takes him to get into game shape.
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