Team USA has had some roster issues in recent days with Bradley Beal being removed and unable to attend the Olympics due to COVD-19 health and safety protocols. Now, another player has reportedly voluntarily opted out.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has withdrawn and will not travel to Tokyo. Love is still returning to full form from a right calf injury that limited him to just 25 games during the NBA season.
Love’s addition to Team USA drew questions from some, but head coach Gregg Popovich wanted to set things straight when speaking with the media last week.
“We’re going to work his ass off the next four to five weeks and demand a lot,” Popovich said after the team’s first practice at UNLV last week.
“That’s going to definitely get him back into the rhythm he needs to be in to continue to play. I think that’s one of the big reasons he wanted to do this, so he can get himself back to who he was.”
Love is coming off his worst season in 13 years, his seventh with the Cavs. He started just 25 games that he appeared in, averaging 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 40.9% from the field, including 36.5% from three-point range.
“In a way I understand [the criticism] because I came off a season where I didn’t play that many games and wasn’t at the top of my game,” Love said last week of his down season. “For me to come here, I feel I have a lot to prove.”
Cleveland is likely to shop Love this offseason. According to Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, there are at least five teams that are interested in the 32-year-old’s services — the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers.
The initial news comes just more than a week ahead of the start date for the 2020 Games, which were postponed a year after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the games from being held as scheduled last summer. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, July 22. The group stage of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament will be held from July 25 through Aug. 1, followed by the knockout stage from Aug. 3-7. Team USA’s first game at the Olympics takes place on July 25 against France at 8 a.m. ET.
247Sports’ Nick Kosko contributed to this story.