Andrei Kirilenko will get a crack at the Americans and possibly two of his Jazz teammates even before this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Kirilenko's Russian national team will face Team USA in a pre-Olympic exhibition game Aug. 3 in Shanghai, China, USA Basketball announced Monday.
Team USA will close its pre-Olympic training schedule Aug. 5 in Shanghai, where in another International Challenge game it will face an Australian team that features University of Utah product Andrew Bogut of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jazz starting power forward Carlos Boozer and starting point guard Deron Williams both are candidates for the American team roster, which will be named following a mini-camp held late this month in Las Vegas.
Kirilenko stars for Russia, which surprisingly won last year's FIBA European championship tournament. The Jazz's starting small forward was named MVP of that tourney.
Russia and Team USA are in different preliminary pools but could meet in the medal round of Olympic play, which for the Americans opens with an Aug. 10 game against host China.
BILLUPS BETTER: For a while, it appeared Williams' bid to make the Olympic team might have been boosted by an injury to point guard Chauncey Billups.
But the Detroit Piston star's "right hamstring is feeling a lot better, which is why he doesn't think it'll be an issue when he joins his fellow Team USA teammates in Las Vegas," Michigan Live Web site for a collection of newspapers in that state reported this past weekend.
Williams, Billups, Dallas' Jason Kidd and Chris Paul of New Orleans are vying for what may be three point guard spots on the 12-man team.
Billups was bothered by the hamstring injury during Detroit's NBA playoffs run, which ended with last week's Eastern Conference finals loss to the Boston Celtics.
ANOTHER WILLIAMS?: Williams evidently has a fan in Southern Cal star O.J. Mayo, a likely lottery pick in this month's NBA Draft.
Asked recently by DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony if he sees himself as an NBA point guard, combo guard or shooting guard, Mayo said he thought he'd be better at the point.
Asked by Givony if he saw himself "as more of a Brandon Roy kind of player, who operates in the mid-range, or more like an Allen Iverson, a slasher and a high volume free-throw guy," Mayo invoked a certain Jazz point's name.
"I see myself as more of a Deron Williams," he said. "I can get to the basket. I feel comfortable shooting the jumper off the dribble or spotting up. I can keep other players involved and the overall energy level up."
HMMM: According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, writing over the weekend: "With the (Miami) Heat eager to clear big 2009 salary-cap space to add another elite player, one logical scenario if the (Chicago) Bulls pass up on (point) Derrick Rose would be drafting Rose at No. 2 (Miami's hope) and pursuing potential free-agent power forwards Boozer or Elton Brand in the summer of 2009. But if Miami drafts and keeps power forward Michael Beasley, (Heat basketball boss) Pat Riley faces harder decisions.
"Although nothing can be assumed in free agency, an associate said Boozer who has a residence (in Miami) likes Dwyane Wade and would be very receptive to Heat interest in 2009, when he is expected to opt out of his Utah contract. Brand displayed a liking for Miami when he signed a Heat offer sheet that the Clippers matched in 2003.
"So if the Heat drafts and keeps Beasley, what about playing Beasley (6-foot-9) alongside Boozer (6-8) or Brand (6-8)? One rival executive said that could work. But, 'it wouldn't be an ideal situation,' ESPN analyst-former college coach Fran Fraschilla said. 'It would be duplicating each other in some ways.' Beasley said he can play small forward, but ESPN's Jay Bilas said it would be a 'tougher challenge' defensively, and Fraschilla said that's realistic only 'in bits and pieces."'
COACHING UPDATE: Jazz assistant coach Tyrone Corbin remains a candidate for the vacant head-coaching post in Phoenix, and Jazz part-time assistant Jeff Hornacek remains a candidate to be a full-time assistant coach in Chicago, but as of Monday neither the Suns nor the Bulls had made their hiring plans known.
According to a posting Monday on the Arizona Republic's Web site, Corbin, Houston lead assistant Elston Turner and Detroit lead assistant Terry Porter (who was in Phoenix on Monday) are the only candidates known to have received second interviews from the Suns, and the team still plans to meet this week with San Antonio lead assistant Mike Budenholzer.Ex-NBA head coach Doug Collins reportedly remains the leading candidate in Chicago.
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