Kevin Durant withdraws from Team USA, won't play in FIBA World Cup
Reigning MVP Kevin Durant won't play for Team USA this summer.
"Kevin reached out to Coach K and myself this afternoon and expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "He tried to give it a go at our recent Las Vegas training camp but felt coming out of camp that he was not prepared to fulfill the commitment he made to the team. Coach K and I fully support Kevin. His well being is the most important thing to us and we support him taking the time to get ready for next season. He’s been part of the National Team program for eight years and a big part of the success we have achieved, and we look forward to him being part of our success in the future as well."
The announcement came completely out of left field to the public, but after his draining MVP season Durant doesn't feel like he can contribute to the best of his ability.
"This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country," Durant said in a statement. "I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities from both a time and energy standpoint. I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them."
Losing the reigning MVP and the best player on the roster is awful news for Team USA. Without Paul George, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, this still looked like a nearly unbeatable team. That is not necessarily the case anymore.
Durant was supposed to start at power forward. The logical question now: Could USA Basketball rethink the Love situation as a result of this? Colangelo says no, he has no plans to add the superstar forward before the team heads to Spain, per Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears.
If Love's definitely out of the picture, you have to wonder if Paul Millsap could find his way back to the team. The stretch four was cut on Monday, but there's more of a need for him now than there was before. Otherwise, Team USA was already looking at using Chandler Parsons at power forward, and this has to help Kenneth Faried's chances of making the team, too.
There is no one on the current roster who can make up for Durant's absence on his own, but this does provide opportunities for several of them. Anthony Davis can start to establish himself as a true superstar, and guys like Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry will surely use up more possessions on offense. It also could complicate USA Basketball's decision on who of Parsons, Gordon Hayward, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Korver will be cut.
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