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Report: Dwight Howard to play for Team USA at World Championships, maybe Olympics

Jan 22, 2014, 4:59 PM EST

USA's Dwight Howard grans the ball durin Getty Images

The last time Dwight Howard played for Team USA he was a 22-year-old helping the United States win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But that appears likely to change this summer with the World Championships in Spain, Howard will be in the pool of players coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball will choose from, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

If you’re asking why now, Wojnarowski has a potential answer.

Howard’s return to the Team USA pool of players for the World Cup in Spain this summer could clear the way for the seven-time All-Star center to be part of the national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil…

For Howard, USA Basketball could have a cleansing impact on his reputation. In the past, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have found playing for USA Basketball a way to redeem themselves in the public eye.

Howard would need to accept somewhat of a role on Team USA — his post game is not really how the international game is played, he’s going to spend a lot of time chasing other team’s bigs out to the arc. That said, Howard’s mobility, defense and rebounding could be something that would pair well with Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge along Team USA’s front line.

The USA Basketball pool of players for the World Championships — as well as the 2016 Olympics (it’s the same pool of guys) — will be released on Thursday. Kevin Durand and Kevin Love have already said they plan to play this summer. Expect fewer of the old school — no Kobe Bryant — and more of the new school such as Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Pau George and DeMarcus Cousins.

Here are tweets from Wojnarowski and Yahoo’s Marc Stein on the issue.

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