Jerry Colangelo: 'We don't want to embarrass' players via roster cutdown

LAS VEGAS -- Team USA director Jerry Colangelo expects to have a 12-man roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics in place soon after next year's NBA draft, bypassing a training camp to cut players next summer.

"What we want to do is protect our players," Colangelo said during ESPN2's telecast of Team USA's scrimmage, a 134-128 victory for the DeMarcus Cousins-led White team. "We don't want to cut players. We don't want to embarrass them if they came to a camp with 18 or 20 and you have to get down to 12.

"Next year, what we plan to do is, we will select our team after the NBA season is over and the playoffs are over and the draft, and in the last few days of June in New York have a big media blitz and announce the 12 players who will be showing up in camp two weeks later."

Since Colangelo took over as director in 2005, Team USA usually made its last cuts a couple of weeks before the Olympic tournament began.

With a pool of 34 players in Vegas this week alongside LeBron James, Colangelo is hoping to streamline the process this time around.

"It's a balance," Colangelo said of picking a roster with so much talent. "You just need to maintain the fact that we're not picking an All-Star team, we're picking players who fit the mold, players who make up the composition of the team. There's a spot for role players. We just have to determine, do we wish to carry an extra big, do we wish to carry another shooter, defender, but we have plenty of time to make that decision."

Colangelo's decisions could be tougher than ever, given the talent pool during this particular cycle. Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski sounded optimistic on Wednesday that James would participate in the 2016 Games.

James and Carmelo Anthony would become the only American men in history to participate in four Olympic basketball tournaments if they both make it to Rio.

Colangelo has already said Indiana Pacers star Paul George will have a spot on the team after a gruesome broken leg injury he suffered during Team USA's training camp before the 2014 World Cup of Basketball. That means there would be nine spots available for the remaining 32 players in the pool.

"I think it's important, first and foremost, that these young men who have their livelihood playing in the NBA take care of their bodies, stay healthy, and we wish them all the success during the NBA season," Colangelo said. "What takes place with us is an experience they all want to experience because they know it's a different environment. They're not playing for their team per se, they're playing for the United States. And we try to put them in a situation where, heaven forbid we ever have another injury of any type, but we try to protect them as best we can. I think they're in safe hands with us."