Just weeks away from the 2014 Basketball World Cup, reigning NBA M.V.P. Kevin Durant has officially withdrawn from Team USA. The loss of Durant is the biggest blow to the team that’s heavily favored to take the gold medal at the cup. Power forwards Blake Griffin and Kevin Love previously withdrew their participation as well. Griffin wanted to rest his back for the upcoming 2014-15 season and Love did not want the additional risk of injury on the last year of his expiring contract with Minnesota amid trade speculations. Team also lost Indiana’s Paul George, who suffered a horrific leg fracture during a team scrimmage. While Coach Mike Krzyzewski still has a lot of talented players at his disposal in the active pool, the loss of those four forwards makes a dent in the team’s perceived armor of dominance.
Kevin’s last stint with the National Team was in the 2012 London Olympics where they captured the gold medal. He averaged 19.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
Durant gave this official statement regarding his withdrawal from the team:
“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. 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 to the team 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 opportunities with them.”