Stephen Marbury watches LeBron James go; Photo: AP

More and more the USA Basketball committee that is selecting the 12 players for this summer’s Olympic basketball squad are hearing "I’m out", especially since the recent bombings in Athens. All this makes Gothamist wonder, who's in? Players that have turned down bids to play for Team USA include Seattle’s Ray Allen (fiancé giving birth this summer), Jersey’s Jason Kidd (nagging injuries), Toronto’s Vince Carter (getting married this summer), Minnesoata’s Kevin Garnett (fatigue from prolonged playoff run), and a trio of Lakers which include Karl Malone (needs time to recover from injury filled season), Kobe Bryant (pesky pending rape trial) and Shaquile O’Neal (doesn’t really want to go). Although he has not declined his invite yet, sources say Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal is considering pulling out because of safety concerns in Athens.

So as of now, who is making this trip to Athens? O'Neal, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (who recently reaffirmed his commitment), Philly’s Allen Iverson, Orlando’s Tracy McGrady, Sacramento’s Mike Bibby and Jersey’s Richard Jefferson. Wait! Not so fast. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that McGrady might be having second thoughts about fulfilling his childhood dream of representing his country at the Olympics. Like O’Neal, he cites concern about his safety as the biggest issue.

"Tracy is worried about security, no question," said a source. "He's going to have his family over there with him." McGrady and several other NBA stars were less than impressed with USA Basketball's handling of the Olympic qualification games in Puerto Rico last summer. However, McGrady might face pressure from adidas, his shoe sponsor, to play in the Summer Games and help move some product.

So what is the USA Basketball committee doing to fill out the roster? More and more they are looking to the game’s rising stars to fill the remaining spots. Celeveland’s LeBron James, New York’s own Stephon Marbury and Phoenix’s Shawn Marion were all issued invitations earlier in the week and recent reports have fellow Sun Amare Stoudamire being next on the
list to accept an invitation
to summer in Greece. To his credit, Stoudamire told that the lure to represent his country outweighed any safety concerns he might have, "You're taking a chance in anything you do in life. I just want to play for my country." Other players mentioned as potential roster replacements include Lamar Odom of Miami , Minnesota’s Sam Cassell, Ron Artest of Indiana and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony.

No matter who is on the squad, they will certainly be thinking of the USA's disappointing
6th place finish in the 2002 World Championships
. Current Pistons headman Larry Brown will coach Team USA. The team is scheduled to begin training camp on July 26 in Jacksonville, and then play exhibitions in Germany, Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey before the Olympics in Athens, which run through Aug. 29. "The four years that have transpired since Sydney, the teams have gotten better, the players have gotten better," Brown said. "And maybe we're not sending the very best, but we'll be well represented and I'm confident they'll do well."