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LAS VEGAS — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade could be free agents next summer. Kobe Bryant will turn 32 with plenty of basketball played the last few years.
There's many reasons the players who led the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal in 2008 could change their minds about returning, yet Jerry Colangelo still believes he'll see most of them back in uniform.
"Somebody said to me, 'Well, how do you know they're going to really do it?' Well, you can only go on the last time we spoke with them," the USA Basketball chairman said. 'I'm not the kind of guy who calls every week to say, 'You still in?'
"At the appropriate time, we'll know. When we get ready for camp next year, we're going to know who is in and who's out. But I just feel based on everything that I know that our core players are all coming back, because they've indicated they will."
Colangelo quickly committed to staying on and coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday he would. Some players discussed coming back even before the Americans won gold in Beijing, an idea that seems more probable with Krzyzewski's return.
"We had great chemistry as a unit and worked well with the entire coaching staff," point guard Chris Paul said in a statement. "I am looking forward to having another great experience with everyone."
USA Basketball collected reaction about Krzyzewski's return from seven players. Paul was the only one to mention anything about coming back, but they all praised the coach and his staff and said how much they enjoyed playing for him.
Bryant, in a press conference in Singapore, said Krzyzewski's return "definitely influences me."
"I'm very excited to see that he signed on," Bryant said. "It influences all the guys just because we've been through that experience before and it becomes like a family."
Colangelo met with Bryant, James, Wade, Paul, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard during the NBA All-Star weekend in Phoenix, then spoke with Carmelo Anthony and former Illini Deron Williams shortly after. He said they all expressed interest in returning.
"They want to be part of it. They loved the experience and they enjoyed one another," Colangelo said. "If it isn't broke, you don't fix it. You keep everything going in the same direction and if you had that much fun with the experience, they all want to continue with it."