NBA Rumors: Knicks trade target could add star power to Olympics roster

Aug 7, 2021; Saitama, Japan; A general view of the United State team gold medal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 7, 2021; Saitama, Japan; A general view of the United State team gold medal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dillon Brooks’ 39 points against Team USA wasn’t the tipping point for LeBron James to make his return to the Olympics, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the superstar had already been recruiting fellow stars (subscription required) to join him in Paris next summer.

The New York Knicks were represented by Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart at the World Cup, but they’ve been pushed to the side for more prominent names.

Along with LeBron, stars such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are expected to represent the U.S. in Paris. Charania mentioned Bam Adebayo as a player who “is widely considered a strong candidate for Paris.”

Outside of Adebayo, another star center in the East could represent the United States instead of France. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote:

"Team USA has done some recruiting of Joel Embiid, who holds both United States and French citizenship, but the Philadelphia 76ers star has thus far been noncommittal."

Team USA trying to recruit Knicks trade target to commit to 2024 Olympics

There are two big question marks between Joel Embiid’s future in the NBA and his 2024 Olympics status.

A lot can happen between now and next summer. Not only could Embiid and the Sixers make the deep playoff run they’ve been hoping for, or worse, he could end up injured, but the star center could’ve been traded to a team like the Knicks.

Philadelphia is still viewed as a contender but continues to unravel amid the James Harden situation.

The 2023 World Cup roster lacked size, and Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson averaged only 2.9 rebounds per game this summer. Walker Kessler was on the roster, but Steve Kerr rarely put him in the game. The U.S. didn’t have their A squad at the World Cup, but it was still disappointing that the team failed to medal.

LeBron James has taken matters into his own hands to change that with a star-studded lineup. Team USA needs a player like Embiid, but it’ll depend on whether he wants to represent the host country or the country where he spends most of the year. If he decides to play for France, expect Bam Adebayo to take his place as a starter.

Based on what the United States’ Olympic roster is projected to look like, New York fans won’t have any players representing the country. RJ Barrett will be one of Canada’s leading forces, but if the U.S. rolls out the best of the best, including Embiid, Canada can forget about beating Team USA again.