MIAMI — Kobe Bryant recently joked he’ll sit out the 2016 Olympics, teasing that he’ll just watch as teammate Pau Gasol “win another silver” medal for his native Spain.
But that possibility might not happen.
Gasol told this newspaper he remains undecided whether he will play in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janiero, aware that he will then be 36 and saddled with plenty of basketball mileage.
“That’s the main thing. Can I stay healthy and can I play and continue to excel?” Gasol said. “Everything takes its toll. You continue to add miles and then there’s a point where that’s as far as you get.”
Gasol said he will still play in the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain, continuing a strong lineage with his Spanish national team where he has collected a combined three gold medals (2006 FIBA World Peace Championship, 2009 and 2011 FIBA European Championship) and three silver medals (2007 FIBA European Championships, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics).
Team USA announced a roster that includes a 28-player pool headlined by veterans LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony — none of whom are expected to compete at the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain. The newcomers included LaMarcus Aldridge, Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, David Lee,
Gasol will start tonight against the Miami Heat after completing all of shootaround a day after missing practice because of an open wound in the moderate strain in his left big toe. Gasol has nursed the injury for the past nine days, but has averaged 22 points on 53 percent shooting and 12.4 rebounds in the last five games.
“He’s being more aggressive and feeling better, probably physically,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “The team having a point guard [in Kendall Marshall] gets us settled. We can have a better flow.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org