Building LeBron James’ Actual Dream Team USA Roster

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It’s been over a decade since we last saw LeBron James play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics, but that could change next year.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Joe Vardon reported that the 38-year-old “is ready to commit for next summer” and “has called multiple stars to essentially recruit them to join him” for the 2024 games in Paris. He may even have confirmed this news as well.

James is no stranger to recruiting stars, and in this scenario, doesn’t have to worry about pesky salary caps or trading first-round picks and young players to team up with them. Basically, this is his dream come true.

But what would a Team USA roster picked by the four-time MVP actually look like?

According to The Athletic, James has already spoken to Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green while Devin Booker, Damian Lillard, De’Aaron Fox and Kyrie Irving have “serious interest” in committing as well.

Of course, rosters can only contain 12 players, meaning some tough cuts will have to be made.

Based on previous history together, star power, chemistry and other factors, here’s our best guess of how James’ dream team roster would be built.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 8:  LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers & Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the game during  round two game four of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2023 at Chase Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Curry has somehow never played in the Olympics, a streak that’s been long overdue to end.

James and Curry obviously have history together, meeting in the NBA Finals for four straight years from 2015-2018 and serving as the primary faces of the league together over this time.

Despite their brief time as rivals, James has a tremendous amount of respect for the 35-year-old Warriors star and has always been complimentary about his talent.

The on-court fit is obvious, as there’s a mutually beneficial relationship between Curry’s floor-spacing and James’ passing.

James and Irving have seemingly been itching to play together again for years now, with the Los Angeles Lakers star going on record to voice his displeasure that his team wasn’t able to trade for his former teammate at the deadline.

No player on this Olympic roster has won more NBA playoff games alongside James, as the two are still the only teammates in history to each score 40 points or more in a Finals game.

While Irving, 31, may have (predictably) failed to get James on the Dallas Mavericks this summer, the two could reunite once again in 2024.

Reserve: Damian Lillard

James made some waves in 2018 when telling reporters, “Give me Damian Lillard. I’ll show you how appreciated he’ll be.”

Now, he has his chance.

While we wait to see where the 33-year-old ends up in the NBA this season, adding him to Team USA as a third point guard is a no-brainer for James.

A gold-medal winner on the 2020 team, Lillard and James finally get to team up here.

Starter: Anthony Edwards

This is the toughest position to predict a starter, as James’ selection could go in a number of ways.

Let’s not forget that he chose Edwards with his first draft pick at the 2023 All-Star game, even ahead of veterans such as Paul George and De’Aaron Fox. He’s obviously a fan.

Edwards also gets the starting nod here due to his play in the FIBA World Cup, as the 22-year-old led Team USA with 18.9 points in his 26.0 minutes.

If he doesn’t become the best shooting guard in the NBA this season, he will soon.

Reserve: Devin Booker

Booker has already confirmed his interest in playing in the Olympics, with a style of play that should absolutely dominate on the world stage.

James and Booker were All-Star teammates in 2020, although the 26-year-old has elevated his game mightily since then.

While other names may be considered here for James based on friendship, star power or previous history (George, Klay Thompson, Donovan Mitchell), Booker is the best of the group, something James will have to respect.

Starter: Kevin Durant

Durant and James already have Olympic history together after helping Team USA win gold in 2012 at the London Games.

Durant is also, arguably, the greatest Olympic player in U.S. history, as he’s the all-time leading scorer (435 points), has the highest scoring average (19.3) and is tied with Carmelo Anthony as the only three-time gold-medal winners in history.

The 34-year-old is an obvious pick for James as a former teammate and someone he’s gone against in the NBA for the past 18 years, including three times in the NBA Finals.

If Durant wants to try for his fourth gold, he should be guaranteed a starting spot.

Reserve: Jimmy Butler

Butler has long been the lite version of James, a comparison that should be made with the highest of compliments toward the Miami Heat star.

“Every time we’ve matched up, no matter what uniform he’s had on, I’ve had on, we’ve always battled it out. I have nothing but respect for a guy that brings it every single night, brings his hard hat, punches his clock, leaves it all out on the floor,” James said of Butler in 2022.

Adding the 34-year-old to this team brings some much-needed toughness, something the American team seemed to lack at times during the FIBA World Cup.

Finals opponents in the 2020 bubble, Butler should earn a spot on James’ dream team here.

Starter: LeBron James

I mean, there’s no way James’ dream team would have him coming off the bench. Even if he’s not the leading scorer or isn’t on the court for the longest time, he is going to start every Olympic game for as long as he wants.

We already saw James begin to take a backseat to other stars in 2012, when both Kevin Durant (19.5 points per game) and Carmelo Anthony (16.3) outscored him (13.3), although his 5.6 assists did lead the squad.

Expect more of the same here, with James choosing to play more of a facilitating role rather than an alpha scorer. He’s still not coming off the bench, though.

Reserve: Jayson Tatum

Tatum was one of the five players James reportedly reached out to try to recruit for next summer, and for good reason.

They first did battle in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals, when a 20-year-old Tatum scored 17.9 points per game as a rookie to push James’ Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games.

After finishing second on Team USA in scoring in the 2020 Olympics (15.2 points), there’s no way the Boston Celtics star gets left off James’ roster here.

Reserve: Draymond Green

Green or James have been a part of every men’s Olympic basketball team since 2004, yet they have never been teammates. This ends now.

The combination of their previous competitions against one another, Green’s Olympic experience and the ever-powerful Klutch connection, the 33-year-old defensive whiz is definitely making James’ dream team, as his passing and vocal leadership will be needed.

Starter: Anthony Davis

James would definitely pick Davis as a starter for his dream team, even if Joel Embiid is the better option should he choose to play for Team USA over France and Cameroon.

His only current teammate in the NBA, James and Davis also have Olympic history together.

While just entering the league as a 19-year-old rookie, Davis played on Team USA before he even suited up for the New Orleans Hornets, getting to play alongside legends like James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant in London.

While America has a ton of guard talent to pick from, bigs are another story. Davis gets the starting nod from James here, whether he wants to play center or not.

Reserve: Bam Adebayo

Adebayo is really the only other choice outside of Davis, although he’s definitely worthy of a spot on anyone’s Olympic dream team.

A member of the 2020 team in Tokyo that won gold, the 26-year-old’s defense, rebounding and passing will be a crucial part of this team, one that lacks size overall.

With bigs like Nikola Jokić, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and possibly Embiid suiting up for other countries, James’ dream team will need Adebayo to play healthy minutes.

OK, so, technically, we’re at a full 12 roster spots on James’ dream team already, but there’s got to be some way to bring some banana boat buddies on board.

Carmelo Anthony recently retired from the NBA, but that doesn’t mean James couldn’t talk him into one last ride together in Olympic play if someone was hurt or couldn’t play.

The 39-year-old’s Team USA resume speaks for itself, as he sits No. 2 overall on the all-time scoring list and is tied with Kevin Durant with three gold medals.

There’s also Chris Paul, another close friend of James who has donned the red, white and blue together in 2008 with the redeem team and again in 2012. While he will be 39 by next summer, he could still be useful as a veteran mentor off the bench in limited minutes.

Whether it be on the official roster, coaching staff, equipment manager or some made up position created by James, we’re getting Anthony and Paul on this team. Dwyane Wade could surely fill some sort of advisory role as well, right?

Here’s where James’ dream team USA roster stands:

  • Starting Five: PG Stephen Curry, SG Anthony Edwards, SF Kevin Durant, PF LeBron James, C Anthony Davis
  • Reserves: PG Damian Lillard, PG Kyrie Irving, SG Devin Booker, SF Jimmy Butler, PF Jayson Tatum, PF Draymond Green, C Bam Adebayo
  • Honorable Mentions: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul

Is it the best possible roster that the Americans could assemble? Probably not, but it’s not far off, and it would definitely be the favorite to win gold.

Having James essentially play a point guard role while letting Durant, Curry and Edwards take over the scoring and Davis serve as defensive anchor would be a recipe for success.

This is also a loaded bench, as any of the projected reserves are talented enough to be a starter on any Olympic team.

With Anthony and Paul somehow playing a role, this would be a dream send-off for James’ Team USA career, especially if he were to win his third gold medal in the process.

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