Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love Want to Play for Team USA

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

It’s no secret that USA Basketball is looking to infuse itself with new, young talent. That being said, it’s important to establish continuity, and that means bringing back those who helped the program re-establish its global dominance.

Chairman Jerry Colangelo says he’s been approached by two of the NBA’s biggest stars: Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Both All-Stars helped Team USA win Olympic Gold in the 2012 Olympics.

The former UCLA teammates both want to be part of the 2016 squad, according to Colangelo.

Per USA Today:

Forwards Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and guards Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and 2012-13 rookie of the year Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers are among the 29 players, including two college players, invited to Team USA’s four-day camp, which begins Monday and concludes Thursday with a scrimmage. The camp is the first step toward preparations for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the world championships) in Spain and, beyond that, a very early look at candidates for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In Colangelo’s best-case plan, next summer’s team will be a mix of players from the 2012 Olympic gold medal team and players — who have minimal national team experience — from this camp.

Colangelo said that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love have expressed interest in playing. “I don’t solicit nor am I looking for early commitments or anything like that because time and circumstances change things,” Colangelo said. “But those two have indicated they would very much like to play next summer. I don’t know how many others at this point because I haven’t inquired.”

Jerry Colangelo says that he wants the team to be a mix of holdovers from the group that went to London and newcomers. The goal is to bring a roster of 15-to-18 players to the 2014 summer camp prior to the start of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Team USA remains the standard-bearer on the world stage, but Colangelo acknowledges that they need to shore up the frontcourt, as a lack of big men remains a concern.