U.S. wants Billups
Pistons point guard will be invited to play in World Championships and the 2008 Olympics.
Chris McCosky / The Detroit News
Robin Buckson/The Detroit News
Chauncey Billups hasn't said if he will accept the offer to play for the U.S. national team. See full image
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AUBURN HILLS -- It appears, barring any unforeseen snag, Chauncey Billups will have a spot on the U.S. men's basketball team -- if he wants one.
"We want him to play," said Jerry Colangelo, who is in charge of assembling the team that will play in the World Championships this summer, potentially another qualifying tournament in the summer of 2007 and in the Olympics in 2008.
Colangelo said he planned to speak to Billups today. The only concern is a possible conflict this summer. Billups' wife, Piper, is expecting to deliver their third child in July or August.
"Would we be flexible with him as far as the pregnancy, absolutely," Colangelo said. "We just need to talk and work out the circumstances."
Billups, who took treatment on his bruised left thigh before flying to New Jersey where he is expected to play against the Nets tonight, declined to comment.
Colangelo said he was also waiting to hear from Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton.
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James already have committed to the team. Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and Allen Iverson are also expected to commit.
Colangelo has said his initial targets for the point guard position were Billups and Jason Kidd. Kidd, who will be 35 in the summer of 2008, has met with Colangelo. He said he wanted to discuss at length with his family before making the commitment.
Other point guards being considered include Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Steve Francis and Kirk Hinrich.
Colangelo is hoping to get final word from Elton Brand, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh and Marcus Camby.
He hopes to announce the team during All-Star weekend, Feb. 18-19.