Never before has one NBA team had three American-born players represent their country at the summer Olympics.
It could happen in the 2012 Olympic Games, and the Oklahoma City Thunder is one of the teams that have a chance to pull the feat.
When the USA Basketball Men's National Team convenes in Las Vegas on Thursday for the start of its weeklong training camp, the Thunder will have three finalists for the 12-member Olympic team in Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant. The Los Angeles Clippers will be the only other team that has three finalists thanks to recently acquired forward Lamar Odom joining up with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
But don't expect the Thunder to land three players on this year's team.
The chance of Oklahoma City having three representatives in London was beginning to look good due to some of the league's most decorated players falling victim to the injury bug.
Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge had season-ending hip surgery in April. Orlando center Dwight Howard underwent back surgery in late April. Miami forward Chris Bosh recently pulled out of consideration to continue to heal from an abdominal strain, and his Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade, did the same to undergo knee surgery this summer.
Wade is the one who really opened the door for the Thunder.
Westbrook and Durant are virtual locks to make the final team. They should become the ninth different set of teammates to compete in the summer Olympics since the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) opened the competition to NBA players in 1989. New York's tandem of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, as well as some mix of the Clippers' trio, figures to increase that tally.
Harden, however, remains on the bubble.
With no Wade, the U.S. team has a spot for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year to join his All-Star teammates in London. But the team already is guard-heavy, and Harden faces long odds to beat out his competition for what is shaping up to be the final spot.
It's safe to pencil in Paul, Westbrook, Durant, Anthony, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Deron Williams for London. All seven of those players are perimeter-oriented, with Anthony and James being most capable of serving as big men in the international style of play.
That leaves five spots.
Of the traditional post players left available, Chandler and Minnesota power forward Kevin Love are almost assured of spots. Their mix of size, defense and rebounding will be vital to the team.
That leaves three more spots.
The remaining pool consists of Odom, Griffin, Harden, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis.
Griffin and Odom were added as finalists specifically to give the team a shot at more size. One of them seems destined to make it. We'll go with Griffin. Odom's game is a better fit for international competition, but after his fiasco of a season in Dallas there's no telling what shape his body or his game is in. Griffin, meanwhile, can be a bruiser and he has received a contract extension so he shouldn't have any reservations for off-the-court reasons.
Two more spots.
Gay and Iguodala are nearly identical, but Iguodala has the edge because of his superior defense and versatility. He also had a better showing and bigger impact in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in which Team USA took gold.
One spot left.
It's not out of the question that the selection committee opts for another big man. But with Odom's potential issues, and Davis having not yet paid his dues, this final spot has as wing player written all over it.
Gordon is likely to get the nod.
Two summers ago, Gordon was the USA's second best 3-point threat after Durant. Gordon made 19-of-42 3-pointers, a 45.2 percent clip, and was the team's fourth leading scorer after Durant, Chauncey Billups and Westbrook. Gordon's athleticism also gives him an advantage since he can apply full-court pressure to opposing guards. Gordon, however, is up for a contract extension as a restricted free agent and his uncertain future could threaten his participation.
If it doesn't, Gordon's inclusion would leave Harden as one of the odd men out, along with Odom, Gay and Davis.
If our projection is accurate, it will mark the first time that three sets of teammates — Westbrook and Durant, Paul and Griffin and Anthony and Chandler — have competed on the same summer Olympic team.
We'll find out the actual roster during a selection show Saturday at 6 p.m. on NBA TV.
When the names are unveiled, don't expect to hear Harden's until 2016.