Is it possible that the Clippers could have three players on the U.S. Olympic basketball team?
Well, yes, it’s possible that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Chauncey Billups all could represent the United States in the Olympics in London this summer.
Paul said he has been in contact with Jerry Colangelo, director of USA Basketball, and that he hopes to be on the Olympic basketball team for the second time.
Griffin said he was told by his agent that Colangelo wanted to speak with him about being a candidate to try out for the team. Griffin said he planned to call Colangelo this week to express his interest.
Billups said his agent talked with Colangelo.
Colangelo must announce the 18 candidates for the team by Jan. 18.
Paul was on the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“He just asked me if I was committed,” Paul said about his conversation with Colangelo. “My answer was, ‘Yeah!’”
When asked if he was trying to get a second gold medal, Paul said, “exactly.”
“If I’m healthy and well, then I want to play,” Paul said. “I’d like to do that one more time. I’ll be 30 in 2016. I’ll be old.”
Griffin would be the only player trying out who was not on the 2008 Olympic team or the 2010 world championships team.
“It would be an honor for me to represent my country,” Griffin said. “I’ll call and see what the next step is. I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Billups, 35, was on the world championships team that won the gold medal. He was supposed to be on the 2008 Olympic team but had to pull out for personal reasons.
“Oh, yeah, I want to play, absolutely,” Billups said. “I’ve never played in the Olympics. That’s been a dream of mine. I would have been on the other team, the team in 2008, but I had to pull out at the last second because I had a little family situation. I never thought I’d get another opportunity. The world championships was great. We’ll see.”
Evans makes impact
Reggie Evans was tired. He had just played in his first game as a Clipper on Saturday night after missing the first six because a sprained right foot, but he made an impact right away.
“I was nervous at first,” Evans said after the game. “But it kind of felt good. I was tired, to be honest with you.”
Evans, the backup power forward/center, was his typical self. He had four rebounds in the first four minutes, two of them at the offensive end, and six rebounds overall in 18 minutes 42 seconds.
“I do my normal thing, rebound and play defense,” Evans said. “I’ve still got to work on the whole defensive concept. But this was my first game, so I’m just trying to get myself in tune to the game from the defensive standpoint and just continue to rebound.”
Evans has never been much of an offensive threat and doesn’t expect to be one with the Clippers. He had three points, making his only field goal but going one for six from the free-throw line.
“At the end of the day, I ain’t trying to score the ball, so how much offense do I need to know?” Evans said, laughing.
Break in the action
The Clippers have two days off before they play the first of three games this week. The team, which didn’t practice Sunday, plays at Portland on Tuesday, faces the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center in its first back-to-back of the season, and plays host to the Lakers at Staples on Saturday.