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Roster Openings Lead to U.S. Tryout for Odom

Times Staff Writer

Lamar Odom will be invited to try out for the U.S. basketball team, after all.

One of the top players in the Athens Olympics, Odom did not make the original 22-player list finalized internally by USA Basketball last week, but he will fill one of the spots created by players who declined invitations.

Roster space opened when Milwaukee guard Michael Redd and Seattle forward Rashard Lewis declined to accept the lengthy commitment, which begins in July with a training camp in Las Vegas. Redd is getting married in August and Lewis reportedly will use the summer to heal a series of nagging injuries.

“I’m happy to wear the uniform again,” said Odom, who was disappointed when not initially selected. “Because we lost the way we lost, being able to go back is a big deal.”

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Mindful of the third-place finish by the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo made it clear that players needed to begin committing to the cause well before 2008. In addition to the July training camp, the U.S. has games in Japan and South Korea before competing in the world championship in August in Japan.

Odom was one of three U.S. players to score in double figures in all three medal-round games in Athens. He is averaging 13.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Lakers.

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Smush Parker is averaging 34 minutes, by far the most in his NBA career and an obvious cause of the fatigue he has felt recently.

“In his case, we anticipated this,” Laker Coach Phil Jackson said. “He’s never played a full season in the NBA where he’s had to do the 82 games, let alone play the kind of minutes that he’s playing now.”

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The latest on Kwame Brown, as supplied by Jackson: “There’s a lot of guys we say are 11 o’clock players, and a lot of guys are 7:30 players. You want to convert players that play well in practice to be able to perform [in games].”

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TONIGHT

vs. Detroit, 7:30, FSN West

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- 570, 1330.

Records -- Lakers 30-29; Pistons 48-10.

Record vs. Pistons -- 0-1.

Update -- The Pistons have beaten the Lakers six consecutive times, including the last three games of the 2004 NBA Finals. In January, Kobe Bryant had 39 points and Chris Mihm had 16, but no other Laker had more than nine points in a 102-93 loss in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Tickets -- 800-462-2849 or ticketmaster.com


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