Team USA to head to Rio without LeBron James

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LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard Pull Out of Rio Olympics


June 27 (Reuters) - LeBron James was a glaring absentee from the United States Olympic lineup as USA Basketball unveiled its squad for the Rio Games on Monday.

U.S. media reported last week that James, who led the Cavaliers to victory over the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game NBA Finals series, had asked USA Basketball to remove his name from Olympic consideration.

The three-times NBA champion and four-times league Most Valuable Player won gold medals with Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics but after six consecutive trips to the NBA Finals James decided he needed rest.

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He joined a long list to players to turn down invitations to Rio.

Among the other American NBA players who opted out of consideration are twice reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, John Wall and LaMarcus Aldridge.

While a handful of athletes from other sports have pulled out of the Aug. 5-21 Olympics due to health fears over the Zika virus in Brazil, no NBA player has yet to cite the mosquito-borne virus for his decision.

Zika can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre.

SEE MORE: Check out full coverage of Rio 2016

"I think I can speak for the entire coaching staff and say we're extremely excited about the team we will field for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the USA men's national team.

"I love our depth, which is another indication of the depth of talent our national team program is blessed with. We've got a great mix of talent, scorers, past gold medal winners and outstanding youth."

Despite the absence of many top players, the U.S. will still head to Rio as heavy gold medal favorites as they go in search of a third consecutive Olympic title.

The U.S. will now be led by former NBA MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving.

Durant, who collected MVP honors in leading the USA to gold at the 2010 world championship and finished as the U.S. team's leading scorer at the 2012 London Olympics by averaging an American Olympic record 19.5 points a game,

Other members of the team include New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler, Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins, Indiana Pacers Paul George, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and three members of the Golden State Warriors - Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

"I'm anxious to get on the court and along with my great coaching staff, get to work," said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"Looking at this team, our overall balance is what strikes me.

"We have lightning-quick guards who can score as well as distribute the basketball. We have great shooters and explosive scorers, we're big and athletic, and I think we'll really be able to defend."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Omaha, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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See the best photos from Game 7 of the NBA Finals

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June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) moves the ball against Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the second half in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) grabs a rebound against Golden State Warriors forward Anderson Varejao (18) and guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) controls the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) in the second half in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) in the second half in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Shaun Livingston #34 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball againt LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Festus Ezeli #31 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures during the second half against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 and Dahntay Jones #30 of the Cleveland Cavaliers hug after winning the NBA Championship against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Finals Game Seven on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Head Coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers is pumped up after winning the game against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Finals Game Seven on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Kevin Love #0 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers share a moment against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Finals Game Seven on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Shaun Livingston #34 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for the layup against the Cleveland Cavaliers gduring the 2016 NBA Finals Game Seven on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (R) shoots the ball ahead of Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson during the third quarter in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. Powered by an amazing effort from LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers completed the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, dethroning defending champion Golden State 93-89 to capture their first NBA title. The Cavaliers won the best-of-seven series 4-3 to claim the first league crown in their 46-season history and deliver the first major sports champion to Cleveland since the 1964 NFL Browns, ending the longest such title drought for any American city. / AFP / Beck Diefenbach (Photo credit should read BECK DIEFENBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Richard Jefferson #24 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors speaks to members of the media after being defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers kisses his daughter Zhuri during a press conference after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 to win the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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