Kevin Love joined USA Basketball during its pre-Olympic training camp in Las Vegas, only to pull out before the team departed for Tokyo due to a calf injury that he believed would have prevented him from competing at the international level. It seemed straightforward enough and the sort of issue that would have been put to bed right when Love decided to leave camp, but on Friday, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo addressed the whole thing in a way that was ultra-critical of Love.
As Colangelo tells it, Love reached out and made his case to join the team, saying he was healthy enough to go. And then, Love left, which Colangelo still seems pretty hung up on.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster.
“Well, it didn’t work out,” Colangelo continued. “He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us.”
Colangelo, it must be said, will end his tenure with USA Basketball following these Olympics, so he assuredly feels like he can be a little more open than usual. But still, this is quite the approach to take with regards to Love, because even beyond the fact that he’s contributed to USA Basketball in the past, it’s weird to just straight up bury someone like this, especially when the apparent issue (his health and fitness) was evident last NBA season.