PHOENIX SUNS

Jerry Colangelo hints Suns’ Devin Booker, Chris Paul in Team USA pool

Feb 16, 2021, 3:38 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2021, 9:17 am
Former Phoenix sports franchise owner Jerry Colangelo visits Doug & Wolf on Arizona on Feb. 12,...
Former Phoenix sports franchise owner Jerry Colangelo visits Doug & Wolf on Arizona on Feb. 12, 2019. (Arizona Sports/Matt Layman)
(Arizona Sports/Matt Layman)

Three-time defending gold medalist USA Basketball was scheduled to defend its place atop the world at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team will have to wait until July to get back on the court to represent the red, white and blue.

The rearranging of schedules has also greatly affected the NBA, with the 2019-20 season ending on Oct. 11 and the 2020-21 campaign starting on Dec. 22.

This year’s regular season is tentatively scheduled to end on May 16 — roughly one month later than the usual start of the playoffs in April — which means camp for Team USA will commence during the NBA Finals.

“We will start camp without our full roster, we know that,” Jerry Colangelo told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Tuesday. “So we’re looking at what we can do to make the best out of our circumstances.”

The “Godfather of Valley Sports” said that USA Basketball is getting ready to announce an extensive group of players from a pool of 50-plus candidates.

“We’ll select 12, obviously that’s the roster maximum,” Colangelo said. “But because of COVID, because the season lasted as long as it did, the new season, the playoffs — there isn’t much of a turnaround time.

“I had one player who’s an All-Star tell us just a few days ago, he didn’t care if his last game was the last game of the NBA Finals, he’d be there 24 hours later. That’s how committed he is to wanting to play.”

When it comes to the guard position, Colangelo might not have to look further than the Valley in Phoenix Suns Devin Booker and Chris Paul, the latter of which won the gold medal in 2008 and 2012.

“We haven’t announced anything but I guess if you were a betting guy, you could go one way or the other and you can’t go wrong,” Colangelo said when asked if Booker or Paul were among the pool of 50-plus players.

“You can see the confidence growing with Devin Booker for sure and I can’t say enough about Chris Paul,” he added. “He played for us with the Olympic team back in ’08, so I’ve had that relationship with him and I know what kind of a leader he is.”

However, a big concern for Colangelo is the availability and health of bigs that can represent the U.S. after Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis suffered an Achilles injury and will miss some time.

“He’s a big part of what we’re looking at. We do not have a lot of bigs,” he said. “Most of the bigs in the NBA are European players, so that’s going to be a challenge for us. The old days of having centers playing in the low post with their back to the basket are gone. They all want to be 3-point shooters on the perimeter.

“So it’s a different game, it’s a different skill set, but some of the best centers in the league right now are Europeans.”

Phoenix Suns

Landry Shamet #14 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the NBA preseason game at Footprint C...
Arizona Sports

Landry Shamet already feeling right at home with Suns

Landry Shamet has not played for the Suns yet, so that made it somewhat of a surprise that he was inked to a four-year contract extension.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul (3) talks with Devin Booker (1) during the first half of Game 3 of basketb...
Kellan Olson

Empire of the Suns: Picking Phoenix’s MVP, MIP and biggest concern

Here are a few key questions for the Phoenix Suns as they attempt to make another deep playoff run.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns interim GM James Jones sits during an interview with The Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 ...
Wills Rice

Suns GM James Jones: Deandre Ayton wanted 5-year max, nothing less

Suns GM James Jones said that the team and center Deandre Ayton did not have real negotiations in regards to the rookie max extension.
1 day ago
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks heads to the net as Kevin Durant #7 of the Brookly...
Arizona Sports

Empire of the Suns’ NBA preview: Title favs, MVP picks and players to watch

Empire of the Suns podcast co-hosts Kellan Olson and Kevin Zimmerman dive into the new year with this NBA-wide glance.
1 day ago
Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots against Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns dur...
Arizona Sports

Here are the extensions signed from the 2018 NBA Draft class

The Phoenix Suns signed two players from the 2018 NBA Draft class to extensions but not center Deandre Ayton.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns and Mikal Bridges #25 celebrate defeating the LA Clippers 104...
Arizona Sports

Mikal Bridges, Joe Johnson and others react to Ayton not agreeing on extension

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, basketball world comment on Deandre Ayton's contract extension situation.
1 day ago
Jerry Colangelo hints Suns’ Devin Booker, Chris Paul in Team USA pool