As the 2016 Olympic Games inch closer, international basketball tournaments are beginning to pop up.
Tournaments in this summer in Slovenia and Venezuela are kicking off in August and the main event next summer in Spain (Basketball World Cup) will likely determine which country will earn a slot at the Rio games and shot at gold.
But if Team USA wants to defend its gold medal, they will likely have to do it without LeBron James. With the FIBA Basketball World Cup next summer and the Rio games after, James more than likely will not represent the U.S. thanks in part to age and timing.
USA Basketball head honcho, Jerry Colangelo, stated he is not asking James to play for the team nor is he expecting James to be with the team in Spain or in Brazil.
"LeBron is going to be three years older during the next Olympics. He will have two older boys. He has a lot to endure with his family," the source told Y! Sports. "He played in three Olympics. Everyone that knows LeBron knows it's always based on a decision at that moment. But if the moment was today, the answer would be no."
"The only way I could see him playing in the Olympics is if his country really, really needed him to play," the source said. "But hasn't he done enough?"
Before people start jumping on James' back, recall he has played for Team USA whenever he was asked to do so. He brought the U.S. two Olympic gold medals and a bronze in three Olympic appearances that began in 2004.
Add the fact the Heat have had deep run in the postseason since James joined the squad and this adds up to lots of wear-and-tear on his body. If he wants to continue to ensure his health and prolong his career in the NBA, taking a step back from Team USA would be best.
Of course the Heat and its fans are smiling at this news, but Team USA should not fret too much.
Yes losing James is a huge blow, especially since no international team had an answer for him on the court and teams like Spain and France could prove to be a headache, but the NBA has lots of up-and-coming talent to help fill the void. Players such as Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden all can provide Team USA with some firepower and not to mention, Kevin Durant will still be leading the charge in international play.
James will be 31 by the time the Rio games arrive and by that time, he will more than likely have more deep postseason runs with Miami. Needless to say, there will be many miles on his legs, if they're aren't any now.
But as the old saying goes, never say never when it comes to James playing one more time with Team USA.
"I don't think he will ever too old," Colangelo said. "He can be 40 and still be able to play. Think of what he might be able to accomplish in terms of legacy with one more medal.
"We'll cross that bridge later."
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