Gilbert Arenas is gung ho, Chris Bosh is ready to jump on board, too, and Carmelo Anthony has been interviewed by national team czar Jerry Colangelo about representing the United States at the 2006 World Championship in Japan and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, ESPN.com has learned.
Colangelo also has met briefly with several players, including Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons, and held longer face-to-face meetings with others to ask for a three-year commitment to the U.S. national team.
Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire and Tim Duncan are also on the short list of players Colangelo would like to add to the team's core, but he has not yet spoken to all of them.
The toughest player to convince could be Duncan, whose parting words for the international basketball federation as he left Athens -- "FIBA sucks" -- indicate his strong unwillingness to ever play in another international competition. Duncan felt the referees treated him unfairly during the Athens Olympics.
If logistics allow, Colangelo plans to speak to as many as 35 players before extending any formal invitations. The first official members of the team probably will not be announced until the All-Star break in mid-February.
"I've met with five players and laid out everything expected of them regarding the commitment, and what's expected of them on and off the court," Colangelo told ESPN.com. "So far, I'm five-for-five with the guys I've spoken to about participating. And some players who were pessimistic in their comments a couple of months ago are now soliciting an invitation."