When USA Basketball announced last week that Kevin Love had withdrawn from consideration for the FIBA World Cup team, the justification given was due to his “current status.” Despite no confirmed change in Love’s tenuous position with the Minnesota Timberwolves, national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said today “it’s possible” that he’ll play for the United States in Spain later this month.
The news is courtesy of Comcast Sportsnet’s Chris Haynes. Though Colangelo is hardly committal one way or another on Love’s status with Team USA, it’s still a major departure from last week’s development that ruled him out for the World Cup entirely.
“Technically it is possible,” Colangelo said to CSNNW.com following Day 4 of Team USA training camp. “But I have to weigh all of the considerations if I were to look at that. Is it fair to the guys who are here putting in the time and effort? How do the teams think about that after the fact? I don’t know. We’ll see how it plays out.
“I know it’s an option. I know it’s possible that he could play, but we’ll see.”
The caveat: Love would have to be officially traded before August 29th, the deadline that final World Cup rosters must be submitted to FIBA.
The most recent report by ESPN made a Love trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers seem imminent. A deal between the Cavs and Timberwolves that features presumptive trade centerpiece Andrew Wiggins, however, cannot be completed – and technically even agreed upon – until August 23 because the rookie signed his contract with Cleveland last week.
Assuming Love is officially traded to the Cavaliers shortly after the 30-day waiting period expires, Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski would have ample time to decide whether or not to grant him a spot on Team USA. But as Colangelo notes, that’s a slippery ethical slope considering he’ll have not participated in training camp and USA Basketball’s firmly established preference to reward those that have put in time with the national team. Love’s ongoing absence is mostly out of his control, but including him on the World Cup roster would send conflicting messages to the program’s pool of candidates. Then there’s the possibility Cleveland would be uncomfortable with him playing in Spain, too.
But Colangelo’s utmost responsibility and top priority is fielding the best team possible. And Love, clearly, has made his basketball merit obvious in recent years given his play on the 2012 Olympic Team and ensuing dominance for the Timberwolves. And though Team USA recently insisted it wouldn’t bring in reinforcements despite the surprising absences of Love, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge, it made an emergency call to Atlanta Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap just 24 hours later.
If the Americans have a weakness, basically, it’s clearly up front. News that the Brooklyn Nets’s Mason Plumlee – just promoted to the senior roster from the Select Team – has usurped the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins supports that belief, too.
2 things from Team USA: post practice games between Durant/Harden/George are epic; Mason Plumlee likely to make team over DeMarcus Cousins
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 31, 2014
If Love were in camp, it’s likely this development wouldn’t have even had the chance to materialize.
All signs point to Love being traded to the Cavs. If it indeed happens before August 29th and Colangelo gets the blessing of Cleveland management, he should act accordingly and appoint Love to the World Cup roster. Love hasn’t only been a face of USA Basketball since 2012, but most importantly gives Team USA its best chance to win gold in Spain. And that should take precedence over blurred ethics and the program’s ideal circumstances.
If he’s available, should Colangelo name Love to Team USA?
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