Sports

Timberwolves’ Edwards named to U.S. men’s Olympic team

Wizards Timberwolves Basketball
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates his 3-point basket against the Washington Wizards during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Minneapolis.
Matt Krohn | AP

LeBron James plans to go back to the Olympics. Stephen Curry and Anthony Edwards are planning on going for the first time. Kevin Durant will go there with his eye on history.

And they’re just part of a star-studded roster the Americans have assembled for the Paris Games.

USA Basketball announced its men’s Olympic team for Paris on Wednesday — James, Curry, Durant, Edwards, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyrese Haliburton and Kawhi Leonard are the 12 names on the current roster.

“We’re giving ourselves a chance to win with the talent we have,” USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill said on NBC's “Today” show. “It’ll be exciting. It’ll be tough. It won’t be easy. We have great respect for all the other teams. But certainly, this is going to be an iconic roster.”

Edwards will be the fourth Minnesota Timberwolves player to make the U.S. men’s Olympic team — following Kevin Love (2012), Kevin Garnett (2000) and Christian Laettner (1992).

Edwards finished the 2023-24 regular season averaging a career-high 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for Minnesota. He’s in his fourth NBA season, with the Wolves opening postseason play this weekend.

This year’s Olympic group has seven players with 10 combined Olympic gold medals; Durant has three, James has two, while Adebayo, Booker, Holiday, Tatum and Booker each have one. Combined, the 12 players had averages of 24.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season, shooting 39% from 3-point range.

“Obviously, it’s a great honor to represent your country,” Adebayo said. “But for me, to be in that room as part of those 12 players, part of who they think the 12 best players to represent the United States, it takes it to a different level.”

The amount of talent on the U.S. roster is staggering. Of the 12 commits, seven finished the season ranked among the NBA's top 15 scorers per game. James is the league's all-time scoring leader, Curry the all-time leader in 3-pointers, Haliburton won the assist-per-game title this season and 10 were All-Stars this season as well.

“The goal is to win the gold,” Hill said. “They know that.”

Hill has led the task of assembling the roster for the past several months, and the plan all along was to put together the team well in advance of training camp starting at Las Vegas in early July. Tryouts were never part of the plan for this team.

Durant has said since last year that he plans to play, which means he will pursue becoming the first men’s player in Olympic history with four basketball gold medals. He and Carmelo Anthony are the only men’s players with three Olympic golds; there are six women, all American, with at least four Olympic basketball golds. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi each have five, while Teresa Edwards, Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles and Lisa Leslie each won four.

James will seek a fourth medal, after winning bronze in 2004 and golds in 2008 and 2012. The other past gold medalists on the roster are Davis (2012), Adebayo (2020), Booker (2020), Tatum (2020) and Holiday (2020). The 2020 gold medals were won in 2021, since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a one-year delay of the Tokyo Games.

Curry will play in the Olympics for the first time, as will Leonard and Embiid — who chose to play for the U.S. last year after becoming an American citizen. The Cameroon-born center also could have chosen to represent France at the Paris Games.

The other first-time Olympians on the current roster are Haliburton and Edwards, both of whom played for the U.S. team that finished fourth at the World Cup in Manila last year.

Durant and Curry said in October that they wanted to play this summer, Adebayo said then that he had already committed to the team, and it’s been assumed for some time that if players like James want to play, then all they have to do is say so.

The U.S. men have competed in basketball at the Olympics 19 times, winning 19 medals — 16 gold, one silver and two bronze.

The Paris team will be coached by Steve Kerr, assisted by Erik Spoelstra, Tyronn Lue and Mark Few. It’s still possible that the roster changes before the summer, if injuries or deep runs in the NBA playoffs force players to change their minds about committing to the national team.

Volume Button
Volume
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News