DeMar DeRozan is a step closer to making his Olympic debut.
The star Toronto Raptors guard was among 30 players selected Monday as finalists for the U.S. basketball team that will attempt in Rio de Janeiro to win a third straight gold medal.
DeRozan joins an elite group including LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, each looking for a fourth Olympic berth, and Stephen Curry, who is in line for his first.
DeRozan was part of the American squad that finished 9-0 and won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. He averaged 4.8 points, 1.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 11.7 minutes, while shooting .536 from the field.
DeRozan scored 10 points off the bench during the gold medal game against Serbia.
DeRozan and teammate Kyle Lowry are also hoping to play in the 2016 NBA All-Star game, which comes to Toronto in February. At last count, Lowry was third and DeRozan seventh in votes among Eastern Conference guards.
The native of Compton, Calif., has spent his entire seven-year career with the Raptors. He is averaging a team-best 22.6 points (11th in the NBA) through 40 games this season and ranks second in the league in free throws made (279) and attempted (330).
The final 12-player roster will be chosen this summer. If James and Anthony are on it they would become the first American men to play in four Olympics.
The other candidates for Rio are:
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City);Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (Clippers);Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio);Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes (Golden State);Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love (Cleveland);Dwight Howard and James Harden (Houston);Anthony Davis (New Orleans); Paul George (Indiana);DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay (Sacramento);John Wall and Bradley Beal (Washington);Jimmy Butler (Chicago); Mike Conley (Memphis);Andre Drummond (Detroit);Kenneth Faried (Denver) andGordon Hayward (Utah).
“The depth of talent that exists in the national team program is extraordinary. Repeating as gold medallists at the 2016 Olympics will not be easy, but we feel confident that we have 30 finalists who offer amazing basketball abilities and special versatility,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
Kobe Bryant, who is retiring after this season, took himself out of the running for a third Olympics this weekend.
James and Anthony have already joined Hall of Famer David Robinson as the only U.S. men to play in three Olympics, winning bronze in 2004 before leading the U.S. to gold in Beijing and London. Paul could join that list this summer.