Team USA Not an Option for JO
According to Team USA, JO doesn't need to spend any time considering joining the team. Jerry Colangelo verbally beat down the idea yesterday, as stated in the Indy Star this morning.
"No, he won't be there," Colangelo told the Denver Post. "He was asked and there was no interest at the time. And remember, I was looking for individuals that were going to make a three-year commitment. There's no pass. You can't show up late for the dance. And that's just a general statement.
"I also said we had the flexibility of adding or deleting because we kind of set up our own infrastructure. But I want to be consistent with commitments I made to all the players."
Ouch! Stay classy, Jerry. I believe JO's interest was a positive endorsement of Team USA's efforts. As you might expect, JO was a little taken aback by these comments and flashed an emotional response.
"I had an injury," O'Neal said Saturday night. "If that disappointed them that I was trying to get healthy, then I don't want to play. First and foremost, I have to make sure that my body is healthy to play for the Indiana Pacers. I was coming off a serious (groin) injury. That's no problem if they don't want me to play. Good luck to them."
I understand Team USA's plan and position on coming in late, but how can they be sure all of the current player involved will be healthy and ready to go for the various furute events. Why burn the bridge of a player who could admirably fill a roll in case of a rash of injuries (or lost interest)? It's kind of hard to predict the future, so it seems somewhat shortsighted of Colangelo to come out so strong against JO's interest in Team USA.