Colangelo watching finals with neutral eyes

USA Basketball’s boss keeping tabs on top talent

LeBron James is one of a bevy of players Jerry Colangelo is keeping an eye on during the NBA finals. The chairman of USA Basketball likely will select James and several other players in the series for the 2012 Olympic squad. Enlarge photo

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

LeBron James is one of a bevy of players Jerry Colangelo is keeping an eye on during the NBA finals. The chairman of USA Basketball likely will select James and several other players in the series for the 2012 Olympic squad.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Though Jerry Colangelo will be on an overseas trip during some of the NBA finals, he plans to keep a close eye on the series.

After all, few people have as many connections to both teams as USA Basketball’s chairman.

“A third of our player pool is in the finals, six of them,” Colangelo said. “So I’m watching it very closely, and my party line is I wish them all well and good health.”

Miami’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all played for the U.S. men’s basketball team that won Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, and the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden join them as candidates to be in London this summer.

The national team hasn’t had enough good health this year by any stretch.

Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and LaMarcus Aldridge have been knocked out by injuries, forcing the Americans to get permission from the U.S. Olympic Committee to add Harden and Kentucky All-American Anthony Davis to the pool long after the original deadline so they would have 18 players.

Then Bosh went down with a strained lower abdominal muscle in Game 1 of the second round and missed nine games. He seemed back to full strength in the Heat’s Game 7 victory over Boston in the Eastern Conference finals, scoring 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, making three 3-pointers.

“I was very happy to see that,” Colangelo said of Bosh’s performance. “Watching him come back, we were anxious to see how he would come back, and I think he’s passed a lot of tests in my opinion, and as long as there’s no reoccurrence of any kind of a strain during the finals here, he should be fine. So we’re very pleased about that.”

Wade has said he wants to see how he feels after the season before committing to play this summer, with the Americans set to hold their first practice July 6. Bosh said his injury didn’t make him consider his plans.

“I haven’t even thought about this summer,” he said. “I know it’s going to come very quickly, but I haven’t given it any thought at all. Just been moving forward as usual.”

The Heat lost the series-opener against the Thunder, and Game 2 is Thursday.