USA Basketball on Tuesday announced it would replace the 12 NBA players chosen to represent the United States in the World Championships.
"We are extremely disappointed and regret that this action had to be taken, but training camp for our team starts July 8, and we simply cannot wait until July 2 for a decision before we begin the process of fielding a replacement team," said USA Basketball executive director Warren Brown.
The World Championships begin July 29 in Athens, Greece. The NBA labor agreement expires July 1 and indications are that a lockout by the owners could be possible.
The 12 NBA players selected to represent the United States spoke by conference call June 11 and decided they would not commit to playing as long as a lockout seemed likely.
Friday is the deadline for submitting 24-man rosters to FIBA, the international governing body that runs the World Championships.
Options include entering the 12-man Goodwill Games team, made up of college players, or a roster of CBA players and Americans playing overseas. No roster would be final, however, until 72 hours before the tournament begins.
The 12 NBA players on the U.S. team were: Tim Duncan (San Antonio), Tim Hardaway (Miami), Vin Baker and Gary Payton (Seattle), Terrell Brandon (Milwaukee), Kevin Garnett and Tom Gugliotta (Minnesota), Grant Hill (Detroit), Allan Houston (New York), Christian Laettner (Atlanta), Glen Rice (Charlotte) and Chris Webber (Sacramento).
Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rockets was the coach.
Other countries participating are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain and Yugoslavia.
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