Gregg Popovich is just hoping to win a gold medal with Team USA basketball at the Tokyo Olympics this summer; he doesn’t care about the other things that come with some of the best players in the world teaming up together.
Team USA, though, has become a lab for the formation of superteams, and one could very well form this summer. However, Popovich couldn’t care less about it.
NBA superteams have formed because of Team USA basketball
Team USA is typically a superteam in itself, as it consists of some of the world’s best players. However, it has also led to superteams forming in the NBA.
For example, the 2008 team that won gold played a big part in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat in 2010.
Carmelo Anthony could have also potentially been a part of that big summer of 2010, had it not been for his contract with the Denver Nuggets lasting longer than James, Wade, and Bosh’s respective deals with their teams.
“It probably would’ve been me and LeBron somewhere, and D-Wade and Bosh somewhere,” Anthony said on the Feb. 22, 2021, episode of The Woj Pod. “After [the Olympics], the talk was ‘Where we going? Where can we partner up at? Where can we team up at? This is too good; we want this feeling forever. We want to experience playing with other great players — we want that. Where can we go?’ … For so long prior to that, the NBA was, everybody had their own team.”
As noted by ESPN, of the 2012 Team USA roster, James and Kevin Love later teamed up in 2014 on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Deron Williams ended up playing with them in Cleveland, too. Kevin Durant and Andre Igoudala also eventually played together on the Golden State Warriors, while James Harden and Chris Paul suited up on the Houston Rockets together.
Of the 2016 Team USA squad, Kevin Durant teamed up with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson later that summer on the Golden State Warriors, before joining Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. DeMarcus Cousins also eventually joined Durant, Green, and Thompson on the Warriors, while DeAndre Jordan played on the Nets with Durant and Irving.
Gregg Popovich couldn’t care less about superteams
With Team USA’s track record, head coach Gregg Popovich recently received a question about the possibility of superteams forming during the Tokyo Olympics.
But he said it’s none of his business.
“Whatever players might talk about — you say superteams — it doesn’t even cross my radar screen,” Popovich said, per the Boston Herald. “I’m not in those conversations with them — they’re gonna have conversations about what they want in the whole wide world. It’s none of my business.”
It’s safe to say Popovich isn’t going to crack down on any recruiting pitches during this Olympic run. That means we could potentially see players laying the groundwork for future superteams this summer.
Which Team USA basketball players could form or join a superteam?
There’s a good chance that a few players on this year’s Olympic team could ultimately switch NBA squads within the next year or two.
There have been whispers of Damian Lillard wanting to leave the Portland Trail Blazers, and Bradley Beal has been involved in trade rumors with the Washington Wizards for years. Maybe, Bam Adebayo could talk one of those guys into going to the Miami Heat, given Miami’s flexibility financially? Or, maybe Lillard and Beal could team up elsewhere.
Kevin Love’s situation with the Cavaliers, on the other hand, could potentially make him one of the most recruited players in Tokyo. He could be a guy who signs a veteran’s minimum deal with a contender like Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets, Devin Booker’s Phoenix Suns, Jrue Holiday’s Milwaukee Bucks, or Draymond Green’s Golden State Warriors.
There may even be some surprise players who ultimately decide to leave their team just because of their experiences this summer. Every possibility is on the table.
Team USA basketball will be interesting to watch in the Tokyo Olympics. They have a great chance to win the gold medal. The time the players spend together, though, could also lead to the NBA’s next big superteam.