Howard may skip USA team

Published 12:54 am Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dwight Howard might not play for USA Basketball at this summer’s world championships.

Orlando’s All-Star center and the NBA’s two-time defending defensive player of the year said on Monday that he hasn’t decided if he will play.

It was the first time Howard has publicly wavered about playing in this summer’s world championships. He had stayed firm on his commitment all season even as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and other stars expressed doubts about participating because of impending free agency.

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“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Howard said after the Magic’s end-of-season meeting. “I’m just going to get some rest and think about that later on.”

Howard played for the U.S. when it won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also won a bronze medal in the 2006 world championships.

In the past two years, Howard has become the most dominant center in the game.

He is the first player in NBA history to lead the league in blocks and rebounds in the same season twice, let alone in consecutive years. Howard took the Magic to the NBA finals last year, and they lost to the Boston Celtics in the conference finals this season.

Howard said he would let USA Basketball know of his intentions “soon.”

“I don’t know right now,” he said.