NEW YORK — USA Basketball Executive Director Jerry Colangelo says New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin is not in U.S. plans for the London Olympics but could be invited to train with the team, reports said. Colangelo told the New York Times and Time magazine that Lin is unlikely to be placed on the U.S. Olympic squad despite his breakout performance over the past three weeks. But an ESPN Twitter posting said Colangelo says Lin might be invited to train with the U.S. Olympians during preparations for the Americans to defend their gold medal at the London Olympics in July and August. “The players who already have time invested in the system have equity built up,” Colangelo told the Times. Lin, a 23-year-old point guard whose parents are from Taiwan, would have trouble cracking the Olympic lineup ahead of reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose of Chicago, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, New Jersey’s Deron Williams and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. That does not even include Chauncey Billups, who was removed from a list of 20 finalists due to an injury. USA Basketball decided not to name a replacement given the depth already in place at the point guard position. “It’s hard to go from A to Z in one quick swoop and maintain the credibility of what you’ve put in place in the way of infrastructure,” Colangelo told Time. The finalists included 18 players who were members of the U.S. 2010 world championship or 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal squads. Colangelo did not rule out Lin playing in London, hedging bets in case of severe injuries to point guards during the remainder of the NBA season and playoffs. But he told the Times that Lin is a candidate to be among younger players who are invited to train and scrimmage against the Olympic squad and take their first steps toward possible Olympic inclusion in 2016. Lin was a benchwarmer who had been cut by two other NBA teams before being given a chance to play when the Knicks lost two starters and Lin responded by scoring nearly 24 points and making nine assists in 10 starts.
The Knicks went on a seven game win streak upon his arrival and have split four games since. “There are players who have sat on the bench and come in and surprised people before, but this is more than a surprise — he shocked people,” said Colangelo. While Taiwan has not qualified for the Olympics, China has a place in London and Lin has a grandmother from China, but such a move is considered unlikely at best. “I’m not in a defensive situation with China,” Colangelo said. Lin has concentrated on improving the Knicks rather than possible Olympic overtures. In fact, he only this week has landed an apartment after waiting to see if the Knicks kept him for the remainder of the season.