Love out for Team USA amid uncertain status
With his trade demand from the Minnesota Timberwolves unresolved, Kevin Love has withdrawn from playing with Team USA just days before training camp for the FIBA World Cup is set to begin.
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesKevin Love averaged 11.6 points per game during Team USA’s run to the gold medal in 2012.
In a statement, USA Basketball said that Love was unable to participate “because of his current status,” a thinly veiled reference to the trade talks that have dragged on since June.
Love was scheduled to report to Las Vegas for training camp on Sunday with practices starting on Monday at UNLV.
Love’s situation likely would have been a major topic surrounding the team, not just during training camp but heading into the World Cup in Spain next month because it may be weeks before a Love trade will be finalized.
“The fact is we can only look to the players we have available,” Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said in the statement. “Our job is to get the job done with our very, very deep roster, and we’re anxious to get things started.”
More than a dozen teams have made bids for Love, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors getting most serious. Sources have told ESPN.com that the Cavs remain optimistic they have the best chance to execute a deal involving No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, though such a deal could not be completed for another four weeks due to NBA contract rules for rookies.
Earlier this week, Blake Griffin withdrew from Team USA on the heels of LaMarcus Aldridge’s choice not to take part. With Love also leaving, the national team has been depleted of the core of the young power forwards it was counting on in Spain.
Love excelled in his role as a good-shooting big man during the 2012 London Olympics, as his ability to hit outside shots is valuable in international competition. Team USA will enter training camp with just four big men on the roster including DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Kenneth Faried. Because of the depth issue and his shooting ability, small forward Chandler Parsons could end up playing some at power forward.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski may consider promoting a player from the USA Select Team that is gathering in Vegas to work out with the current Team USA members. Two of Krzyzewski’s players at Duke, brothers Miles and Mason Plumlee, are candidates to earn a spot on the 12-member team for the World Cup.
In a phone interview Saturday, Colangelo told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that, at this juncture, he anticipates making no further additions to the roster and will likely choose the 12-man roster for the World Cup — in conjunction with Krzyzewski — from the senior players who will be in camp in Las Vegas next week as well as the younger members from the 13-man Select squad that will scrimmage with the veterans.
“You can’t just sit around and cry in your beer regarding who you don’t have,” Colangelo said. “You look at what you do have and you say, ‘We’re going to get the job done.’ We feel very confident about our opportunity. We’re ready for it.”
Only the winner of the 24-team FIBA World Cup will automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Even a second-place finish would force Team USA to participate in Olympic qualifying next summer.