Basketball: LeBron James declines to join U.S. Olympic team

Lebron James

Cleveland, USA

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has declined a spot on the United States team for the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.

James’ agent, Rich Paul, reportedly informed Team USA Jerry Colangelo on Thursday.

“I could use the rest,” James told cleveland.com.

James just finished leading the Cavaliers to the NBA title on Sunday. Cleveland won the final three games of the seven-game series.

It also marked the sixth straight season in which James played in the NBA Finals, meaning his seasons typically stretch into mid-June.

James played in three previous Olympics and is Team USA’s all-time leading scorer with 273 points.

Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler are among the latest players who have committed to playing for Team USA.

Anthony, the New York Knicks forward, will be on the 12-man squad for a fourth time. Butler, a guard for the Chicago Bulls, would be playing in his first Olympics.

Also giving commitments to play are the Toronto Raptors backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

Cleveland forward LeBron James is expected to make his decision this weekend. USA Basketball is expected to announce the roster next week.

Also, Portland point guard Damian Lillard (foot) won’t be part of the team due to injury and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard he withdrew his name in a team news release.

“This was a very difficult decision. It’s an honor to have been considered for the team and I hope that in the future I will have the chance to represent my country by playing for USA Basketball,” Leonard said.

Anthony had considered not participating due to concerns over the Zika virus, which has created major health risks in Brazil.

Jordan reportedly landed a roster spot because Detroit center Andre Drummond has decided not to play.

Other players who have committed to playing include Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, Indiana forward Paul George, Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins and two Golden State Warriors — forward Draymond Green and guard Klay Thompson.

One player who hasn’t reached a decision is Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

The team’s training camp will run July 18-21 in Las Vegas. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the coach and Olympic basketball competition will be held Aug. 6-21.

Players who previously withdrew include Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Houston Rockets guard James Harden. Out for health reasons are LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Chris Paul (Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

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