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Melo joins the Olympic team


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Bucks' Redd now a leading candidate


By Marc Stein



Carmelo Anthony will be going to Athens. Ben Wallace and Rip Hamilton will not.



Anthony, the Denver Nuggets' rookie, will accept an invitation to join to the U.S. Olympic basketball team, NBA sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.



It is also believed that Milwaukee's Michael Redd will also be issued an invitation.



Earlier in the day, Pistons teammates Wallace and Hamilton declined invitations, sources told Stein. That opened the door for Anthony.



League sources told Stein that Anthony learned of the decision Tuesday night and immediately agreed to join USA Basketball's ever-changing roster.



USA Basketball was hoping Wallace and Hamilton, fresh off helping Detroit win the NBA title, would fill the final two spots on its roster, especially since Pistons coach Admin Brown is coaching the Americans. But both players have expressed concerns about security in Greece.



Wallace and Hamilton were among five players USAB had targeted to complete its 12-man squad. Cleveland's Carlos Boozer and the Miami duo of Dwyane Wade and Lamar Odom accepted their invitations.



San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Philadelphia's Allen Iverson are the only original members from Team USA's "core" group of nine players who kept their roster spots. Five players were officially named in the first wave of replacements: Cleveland's LeBron James, New York's Stephon Marbury, New Jersey's Richard Jefferson, and the Phoenix tandem of Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire.



Marbury is the only recognized point guard in that group, but Wade and Odom join James and Iverson in a group of combo guards who can handle the ball.



Sacramento's Mike Bibby, prospectively Houston-bound Tracy McGrady, Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal and the L.A. Lakers' Karl Malone are "core" members of the original roster who have formally pulled out for various reasons, be it injury or security fears or simply a desire for offseason rest.



The Lakers' Kobe Bryant, New Jersey's Jason Kidd and Seattle's Ray Allen were earlier withdrawals from the core group, which was assembled during the 2002-03 season in hopes of establishing continuity before heading to Athens.



The Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal, Minnesota's Kevin Garnett, Toronto's Vince Carter, New Jersey's Kenyon Martin and the L.A. Clippers' Elton Brand also have declined invitations, with reasons ranging from injuries (Kidd and Brand) to weddings (Garnett and Carter) to childbirth (Allen).


Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.




Melo deserves this one. The top 3 rookies on the same team again. I wonder why didn't Big Ben and Rip didn't accept.

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those that are dropping out suck and can goto hell.




and why the hell is that cant shoot richard jefferson on the team?




what i still find hilarious is that last year 9 of the 12 players shot over 50% in teh qualifying tourney.



those 3 that didnt.......jason kidd, kenyon martin, richard jefferson.



coicidence? probably not.

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