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James Harden changes mind, 2 new players Team USA finalize roster

james harden zach lavine jerami grant team USA

Team USA’s men’s basketball roster for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics is one step closer to being finalized. On Wednesday, Brooklyn Nets star James Harden pulled out of the competition, while Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine and Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant were added to fill out the 12-man squad.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the news on Wednesday, two days after reporting that Harden had committed to play.

Harden’s withdrawal isn’t wholly unsurprising considering the hamstring injury he suffered in the playoffs, although Nets general manager Sean Marks said the organization would not prevent Harden from participating.

Harden’s Brooklyn teammate, Kevin Durant, will be heading to Japan with the hopes of winning his third gold medal. At the moment, these nine stars are set to join Durant, Grant, and LaVine.

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard
  • Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal
  • Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum
  • Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love
  • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker
  • Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo
  • Milwaukee Bucks wing Khris Middleton and guard Jrue Holiday
  • Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green

Booker, Middleton, and Holiday are still active in the postseason, and a run to the Finals could affect their status for Tokyo.

Opening ceremonies for the postponed Summer Games will take place on July 23, one day after Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The preliminary round of the men’s basketball competition is slated for July 24.

Booker is committed to playing regardless of the Suns’ playoff outcome, per The Athletic.

On Tuesday, Suns point guard Chris Paul declined an invitation to participate, opening up a spot for Holiday.

The 12 stars will be coached by Gregg Popovich, helming his first Olympic team. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, and Villanova head coach Jay Wright will serve as Pop’s assistants.

LaVine made his first All-Star team in 2019-20, averaging 27.4 points per game. Grant shined for the lowly Detroit Pistons, putting up 22.3 PPG.