It may be a coincidence, or it may be completely related, either way less than a week after Paul George’s horrific injury in the Team USA inter-squad scrimmage Kevin Durant has withdrawn from Team USA Basketball. Citing mental and physical exhaustion and the need to prepare for the upcoming NBA season, Durant’s departure comes three weeks away from the beginning of the FIBA World Championships.
Read Durant’s statement below:
“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 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 future opportunities with them.”
For Team USA this may be a death knoll for their FIBA chances with Spain is as strong as ever. Durant was set to be the offensive centerpiece of the team and now he’s gone. Coach K and his staff will make adjustments but their dreams of Durant playing power forward on a speed and shooting-heavy team are gone. After George’s injury more departures may follow (*cough* Derrick Rose *cough*) but even if the team remains the same this is as vulnerable as the red, white and blue have been in international play since the 2004 Olympic Games.