Henry Abbott, who runs perhaps the best NBA blog on the web in Truehoop, broke this story today about LeBron James. If you don't want to go to the link, Henry has had several sources tell him at least three USA Basketball coaches wanted to cut LeBron James after the first few days of Team USA training camp last summer in Las Vegas. Henry reports they were overruled by Jerry Colangelo.
I was in Vegas during that training camp and the media were not granted access to the practices. I do remember being told by several sources that James didn't "look too good" in the first few days of practices but turned it around quickly. I thought I wrote about this briefly at the bottom of a story (I can't find the link at this moment), though I never thought he was ever close to being cut. He must've turned it around because by the end of camp Mike Krzyzewski named LeBron one of the captains and then praised him all during my three weeks in Japan. Of course, we all know Coach K doesn't exactly give the straight dope all the time.
What I do know is that in Phoenix back in January I had a very good conversation with Colangelo, who I think generally has done an excellent job putting USA Basketball back together, the night it was announced LeBron would be part of the team. He made it pretty clear at the time, though not for the record, that LeBron's place on the team, as well as Kobe's and a few other select players, was not in doubt even though all players were going to "try out." Also, LeBron told me that if he were cut he would probably not play the next two summers.
I trust Henry's sources are accurate, I believe he confirmed it with those who were there. It is not really breaking news today, but it is interesting for sure. I also know that, in general, LeBron has always been a good teammate and he was praised for being a good teammate during the worlds by the coaches and players I talked to. But I also know from eight years of knowing him, that on occasion LeBron can be moody and can pout, perhaps he had an episode for a little while in Vegas.