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Lamar Odom among 20 Team USA finalists

LOS ANGELES -- A week or so ago Lamar Odom joked that he's the only player that can't make an NBA All-Star team, but can play for Team USA.

Thirteen games into his 13th NBA season and Odom is again much closer to wearing the colors of his country than of the Western Conference.

The Dallas Mavericks forward is among 20 finalists for the 2012 Olympic team that will compete this summer in London. USA Basketball released the list Monday morning. The final roster of 12 players and six alternates is due June 18.

Odom's inclusion comes on the same day that the 6-foot-10 veteran returns to Los Angeles to face his old Lakers teammates tonight at Staples Center.

It's no secret that Odom has had a difficult time adjusting to his new environment with the Lakers. He's averaging just 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds and is playing just 20 minutes a game. He had a positive two games in the back-to-back routs Friday and Saturday, and perhaps the Team USA announcement will put an extra pep in his step when he faces Kobe Bryant -- a fellow Team USA finalist -- and the rest of the purple of the gold.

Odom played on the 2004 Olympic team and for Team USA in the 2010 World Championships.

Here's the 20 finalists:

Guards – Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon and Dwyane Wade.

Forwards – Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh and Kevin Love.

Centers – Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler.