With all due respect to the red, white, and blue, Kevin Garnett is focused on wearing Celtic green.
USA Basketball president Jim Tooley confirmed that Garnett was approached about joining its 2008 Beijing Olympic squad within the last week. The first-year Celtics forward won a gold medal while playing for the United States during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Tooley, however, said the 10-time All-Star respectfully declined the invitation.
"There is no discussion about that," Garnett said. "I don't want to discuss that. They know that."
Said Tooley: "We understand his decision and respect it. He's with a good team and he's focused on that."
Garnett and Celtics teammate Ray Allen were both on that 2000 USA team, the last one to win an Olympic gold medal. The US's roster currently includes such big men as Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Chris Bosh, but could have definitely used Garnett. In fact, regular Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony started at power forward for the US in this summer's FIBA Americas tournament. While Allen and Celtics teammate Paul Pierce have USA Basketball experience, neither is expected to play in the Olympics next year.
"They have a team and the team is already established, which is good. I've had my time in it," said Garnett, who was second in scoring for Team USA during the 2000 Games, averaging 10.8 points per game.
Closed HouseGuard Eddie House missed last night's game against New Jersey with a sprained left ankle suffered a night earlier during a 101-86 win at Indiana. Coach Doc Rivers isn't certain if House will be ready for tomorrow's game against Miami.
"He just told me he was out and he said Friday was possible," Rivers said. "We didn't get into a whole bunch. We'll get into it more [today]."
Tony Allen played the majority of House's time and had 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 24 minutes.
Pierce said the game was Allen's best of the season.
"We train every day to be ready for those type of situations and I responded," Allen said. "And hopefully, I can get some more consistent games like that."
Let the race beginThe NBA announced forwards Garnett and Pierce and guard Ray Allen were among the 60 players listed on the Eastern Conference All-Star ballot. No other Celtics were listed. The 2008 All-Star Game is in New Orleans Feb. 17, 2008.
"It would be awesome," Allen said about the possibility of the trio becoming All-Stars together. "But our goal is going to remain the same regardless as to what happened with All-Stars. If one of us doesn't make it, we'll definitely be happy for each other."
Voting begins today and continues through Jan. 13 for paper balloting and Jan. 20 for NBA.com balloting. Voters select two guards, two forwards, and one center from each conference. The 120 candidates from both conferences were selected by a panel of seven media members who regularly cover the NBA. Toronto's Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker and Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley were selected over Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, while Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert and Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia were selected over Boston center Kendrick Perkins.
"It doesn't even matter just as long as someone gets picked from our team," Perkins said. "If the Big Three go, then I'm going."