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Bibby Joins Olympic Exodus

June 08, 2004|Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writer

Sacramento guard Mike Bibby is out and Cleveland forward Carlos Boozer could be in, continuing the dizzying series of changes to the roster of the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

Bibby's withdrawal leaves two players -- Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Allen Iverson of Philadelphia -- from the original nine nominated to represent the U.S. in August at the Athens Games.

Bibby told the Sacramento Bee in Monday's editions that "a lot of things came into play in terms of me making my decision," but he didn't offer specifics. Some athletes have expressed fears about their safety in Athens, and others have said they want to rest after the rigors of the NBA season and spend time with family.

Also out, after withdrawing or refusing invitations, are Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant of the Lakers; Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin of New Jersey; Minnesota's Kevin Garnett; Seattle's Ray Allen; Toronto's Vince Carter, the Clippers' Elton Brand and Orlando's Tracy McGrady. In addition, Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal has said he's reconsidering his decision to play.

Stu Jackson, USA Basketball's senior national team committee chair, on Sunday listed Bibby as among the confirmed participants but said the list "changes daily." Jackson and other committee members were to meet Monday in Chicago to discuss their next moves. He and another USA basketball spokesman did not return phone messages Monday.

Detroit Piston Coach Larry Brown, who will coach the U.S. Olympic team, said he accepted the reasons offered by those who decided to stay home. His enthusiasm for the Games hasn't waned even though he's in the midst of coaching in the NBA Finals, and he said he anticipates no problems finding eager replacements for those who have bowed out.

"My way of thinking is there's so many great players in our league and so many guys that want to play, I just look at it as maybe a missed opportunity for the guys that are dropping out but an unbelievable chance for the guys that want to play," Brown said Monday after the Pistons practiced at Staples Center.

LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, Richard Jefferson and Shawn Marion and veteran Stephon Marbury were part of a group added last month to the 12-man roster, and Boozer is expected to join them this week. Brown said Monday that if Denver's Carmelo Anthony and Miami's Dwyane Wade want to play, "that's great."

Veterans Reggie Miller of Indiana and Ben Wallace of Detroit have been mentioned as potential additions.

"I just think it's the greatest experience ever. But I spoke to Kobe and I spoke to Karl and I know how much they want to be there, but it's just not going to work out," said Brown.



Olympic Shuffle

A look at the U.S. men's basketball team:

*--* * There from day one: Tim Duncan (San Antonio, forward); Allen Iverson (Philadelphia, guard). * Recently added to team: LeBron James (Cleveland, guard); Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix, forward); Stephon Marbury (New York, guard); Richard Jefferson (New Jersey, forward); and Shawn Marion (Phoenix, forward). * Who has withdrawn: Ray Allen (Seattle, guard); Kobe Bryant (Lakers, guard); Jason Kidd (New Jersey, guard); Karl Malone (Lakers, forward); Tracy McGrady (Orlando, guard); Mike Bibby (Sacramento, guard); Vince Carter (Toronto, forward); Kenyon Martin (New Jersey, forward); Elton Brand (Clippers, forward). * Still undecided: Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana, forward). * Who's being considered: Carmelo Anthony (Denver, forward); Sam Cassell (Minnesota, guard); Ron Artest (Indiana, forward); Lamar Odom (Miami, forward); Dwyane Wade (Miami, guard); Ben Wallace (Detroit, forward); Reggie Miller (Indiana, guard). * The coaches: Head, Larry Brown (Detroit); assistants, Gregg Popovich (San Antonio); Oliver Purnell (Clemson); Roy Williams (North Carolina).


Times staff writer Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report.

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