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Kevin Durant withdraws from Team USA, will not play at World Cup in Spain.

Aug 7, 2014, 6:32 PM EDT

2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team Practice Getty Images

Kevin Durant was the real lynchpin of Team USA this summer — he was going to play the four while Tea USA went very small with three guards on the perimeter. He was going to be the perfect international stretch four and likely the team’s leading scorer.

However, he has withdrawn his name from consideration after going through the first round of training camp in Las Vegas last week, USA Basketball announced.

“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country,” said Durant. “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.”

This is a punch to the gut for Team USA and their chances at gold in this tournament (and with that an automatic berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics). If Team USA doesn’t win gold in Spain it will have to send a team good enough to the FIBA Americas tournament next summer to qualify (not that hard, but we can’t just ignore it like four years ago).

Durant gave no hint of this in Las Vegas last week, speaking at the time about enjoying the challenge of leadership.

A lot of people will say this is because of the horrific injury that happened to Paul George, something Durant denied through reports. However, he is on the cusp of a huge $320 million new shoe deal with Under Armour and that seems a far more likely reason to withdraw. Why risk injury with that much money on the line?

“Kevin reached out to Coach K and myself this afternoon and expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities. He tried to give it a go at our recent Las Vegas training camp but felt coming out of camp that he was not prepared to fulfill the commitment he made to the team,” said USA Basketball Presidet Colangelo. “Coach K and I fully support Kevin. His well being is the most important thing to us and we support him taking the time to get ready for next season. He’s been part of the National Team program for eight years and a big part of the success we have achieved, and we look forward to him being part of our success in the future as well.

“We are excited about the opportunity ahead of us and to getting back to work in Chicago on Aug. 14. All 15 players are committed to the USA Basketball standard, which is to come together to win gold medals.”

It’s going to be a lot harder to win gold — which means beating Spain in Spain — without Durant. Remember Kevin Love is not on this team and will not be joining it according to confirmed reports earlier today, and they also are without guys they could use at the four such as Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge.

This could mean good things for guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond, who can play the five if Mike Krzyzewski wants to shift Anthony Davis over the four spot. What also could well happen is Chandler Parsons and/or Gordon Hayward will get a lot of run at the four spot.

All those options are a considerable drop off from what Durant brings. This is a big blow to Team USA’s chances this summer. The USA will have the best, deepest collection of guards and perimeter players in this tournament and that is going to have to carry them.

  1. theebadguy - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Damn

    • duhwighthoward - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      IT’S BECAUSE HE IS ABOUT TO BE PART OF A BLOCKBUSTER TRADE TO THE LAKERS

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:17 PM

        Duh… wake up buddy… you’re having a dream…

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        I wish! sigh.

      • blaxmyth - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:26 AM

        Go home, duhwighthoward. You’re drunk.

    • zoomy123 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      The best possible response.

  2. elcapitanfiscal - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    Maybe Cousins will make the team now.

  3. innovativethinking87 - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Thank Paul George

    • blogsk3tball - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      idiot

      • apkyletexas - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:42 PM

        I agree with him – this is the first in a cascade of players staying out of international ball due to Paul George.

      • elcapitanfiscal - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        Ok, Dwight.

    • innovativethinking87 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      Sorry but it’s the fact. Nobody is blaming PG I’m simply stating that thanks to his injury more players will be scared to hoop in these things

  4. seasickcecil - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Just like Roberto Durant. No Mas.

  5. cmart0907 - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    This is a HUGE blow for Team U.S.A

    • apkyletexas - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Might be a blessing in disguise – I think this will be a major coming out party for the new MVP favorite – Anthony Davis.

      • pburghballin - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        I agree, though I have mixed emotions on the USA basketball thing. The NBA season is so long, that these guys really should be resting/working out/resting/working out right now and mentally just giving it a break so they can dial it in for the NBA season.

        Now these summer practices and games might not have much of an impact on some smaller guys, but a big guy like Anthony Davis, w/o a summer off to rest…I don’t know how much of a fan of that I am, simply because I absolutely love watching him play. He quickly became one of the my favorite players last year. The guy is an animal. Having said that, he’s also had a little bit of trouble staying on the court over a full season.

        He’s supposedly put on a lot of weight this offseason (good weight..muscle). Now will that help him? Or should he be giving those legs a little rest to carry around that extra weight for a whole season? Or maybe the extra muscle makes him more durable? Both?

        Lol…who knows…hopefully you get where I’m going with that though.

  6. tampajoey - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Kevin Durant must be pissed that his future teammate John Wall was cut from team USA. The “Buddy Ball” friendships that team USA has created is garbage. Bring back the good old days when players on different teams hated each other.

    • fanofthegame79 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      The good old days as in before 1992, right? That’s when the USA “Buddy Ball” friendship stuff started (The Dream Team).

    • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      Yeah, MJ and Barkley hated eachother. Magic and Isiah too. Bring those days back.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        How about this then?

        Detroit Bad Boys Pistons playing the Chicago Bulls.

        I know many hated the slow pace and the muggings that regularly occurred back then (no flagrant fouls, no reviewing monitors… just getting knocked senseless when you drove the lane and hand checking galore 30 feet from the basket etc…) but they didn’t like each other and they CARED about the games and hated to lose to each other.

        Laimbeer
        Mahorn
        Thomas
        Vinnie the Microwave
        Dumars

        MJ
        Rodman
        Paxson
        Grant
        Pippen

        It was fun to watch.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        Not much different than the Heat-Pacers battles of recent vintage. In fact, I think there was more actual blood involved in the 2012 Heat-Pacers series than there was in any Pistons-Bulls series. That’s something that goes unappreciated because teams are supposed to be soft today, but that series was as rough as anything from the Pistons-Bulls and I watched all of those games.

        Rodman pushed Pippen into some chairs once and that’s supposed to be the most notorious extracurricular hit from that rivalry – but that wasn’t that hard of a shove. Not anything you wouldn’t see today. LeBron’s been shoved harder by Bulls players.

      • tampajoey - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        Yes! You guys get it!

      • mogogo1 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        Laimbeer took things to the extreme. He quit speaking to guys after they got traded away from the Pistons. It was Salley or Mahorn that told that story about him refusing to say hello during pregame after they’d moved to another team. There’s being competitive and then there’s being a total jerk and Bill crossed the line and then some.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Yeah, but you know I have a different point of view on Laimbeer after watching that 30 for 30. I probably shouldn’t let a documentary do that to me, but I did, so there. But I just have more appreciation for him and Isiah and what they built in Detroit before the other guys showed up. He WAS a jerk though, but he was THEIR jerk, you know?

      • pburghballin - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        Anti…I have a buddy like that. We all probably do hah. So when folks look at it from that perspective it’s easy to have that respect for Lambier. That 30 for 30 was dope.

  7. savvybynature - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    What a wuss. After seeing George go down and inking that $30 million per year deal with Under Armour, he decided his country and fans weren’t worth the risk.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      Yeah, it’s a tough one though because from his perspective it’s the smartest thing to do – though not the most courageous or honorable. But, then again, you can say that about all those players who only run to Team USA for the Olympics and can’t be bothered with it for the FIBA World Cup.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      he hasn’t inked it yet…

      now if he HAD inked it already and it was guaranteed…

    • savvybynature - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:18 PM

      Honestly, calling him a wuss was childish and an overreaction, but I guess it bugs me because he does this now right on the cusp of the competition.
      Seems like it puts USA at an even more of a disadvantage than if he had just said he didn’t want to play to begin with. Now we lose two key cogs — George and Durant — within a week, and just before the games start.
      That’s what bothers me most. I do think it’s up to the players whether they want to participate and that they should be praised for doing so, but not condemned for not playing.

  8. money2long - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    scott brooks must have been blowing his phone up like, please kevin please withdraw. im begging you. pleaseeee.

    • bigmeechy74 - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:30 PM

      nah. scott brooks was probably too busy perusing through playbooks from the 1950’s or scouring the free agent wire for the next washed up player like derek fisher or caron butler that he can give playoff crunch time minutes too

      • bigmeechy74 - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:35 PM

        to

      • pburghballin - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        LOL…I love the Thunder..but that made me laugh. I’m NOT fan of Scott Brooks and that offense. My goodness imagine what type of offense that COULD BE with Durant and Westbrook…scary. But we’ll never see it…

      • bhunter1995 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:26 AM

        Well said meechy

  9. billiam55 - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    sighhh.

  10. blogsk3tball - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    SSHHIIIIIIEEEETTTTTT **Clay Davis voice**

    • Bob Loblaw - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      Greatest. Show. Ever.

  11. jasonnbatalk - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    If I was a superstar I wouldn’t play either lol! And all these fools saying “sigh” or “traitor” should take a good look at themselves and ask if they would play too. Durant gets paid from the Thunder to play for them, while Team USA does not. Representing your country? He has been doing that. Growing your brand? He’s popular as hell. And playing competitively with the best in the NBA? I don’t even like Durant but I already know he’s the top player in the league behind Lebron.

  12. jasonnbatalk - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    I love these people who are commenting “sigh” and “traitor”. They need to check themselves in the mirror and ask if they would play with $50m + a year was on the line for a non-Olympic tournament

    • chicitybulls - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      Whaaaa??? Who’s getting $50M+ per year?

      • bkbell3 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:48 PM

        Durant nba contract 20+mil, next shoe deal 30+mil and another probably 10+mil from other endorsements == at least 60mil, got it?

  13. campcouch - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    The dude is probably tired of playing basketball all year. I forget that this is year 7 for him in the league and even at 25 he’s got to be a little worn. I’m sure that PG scene didn’t sit too well either. He may go home and put his feet up because training camp does kick off in September.

  14. 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    What ever happened to taking PRIDE in playing for and representing your country!!?? Man it’s all kinds of selfish nowadays. In a contract year, stay out. A free agent, no thanks. Been a long season, including a deep playoff run? I need time for myself. Got a big endorsement deal coming….forget the Red, White and Blue, the only color these guys are loyal to and will play for is Green.

    Kind of makes me sick. You see any of these other countries guys staying out for those reasons??

    I miss the Dream Team days.

    • pburghballin - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      I see where you’re coming from….but for KD at least…

      1) Deep playoff run? Check
      2) Long season (MVP season)? Check
      3) Carried an otherwise atrocious offense for portions of the season without your #2 guy? Check
      4) Been representing and helping build this USA team for the past 8 years? Check

      I’m sure Coangelo and K are disappointed, but I’m sure both know that the man needs a rest.

      Ya shouldn’t just jump to a conclusion on why exactly the man decided to opt out…nobody knows for sure but him.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:19 PM

        I wasn’t really singling out KD, just frustrated in general with all our top US guys dropping like flies or not even participating.

        Yes basketball is tiring, but let’s look at it like this, you only play basketball for what, a max of 35-40 years and then you got the rest of your young life to take off and enjoy the sunset. People like us have to work till 60 or so, even some of us till the day we take that eternal dirt nap. No LBJ, Love, Westbrook, KD etc. etc. etc. just irks me to no end. We better win that Gold!

      • pburghballin - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        I feel ya man. Reading again you didnt’ specifically say KD, just seemed like it at first glance. I commented above, I’m conflicted about the US basketball thing. We obviously need it for the Olympics and stuff, and it is an EXTREME HONOR to be able to play for your country. Just saying there is a lot on the line and a lot for these cats to think about when making this decision. This’ll open the door for someone like Boogie, who will destroy in international ball, if he can keep himself from flipping out on someone. KD’s run with team USA isn’t over, but he’s been doing it for a while. While initially a little surprised, I’m not disappointed at all. Let some of these up and comers, fringe elite players, etc play for the team. Even without KD we can still put together a team that Spain has no chance to beat. And that’s not knocking Spain…

      • pburghballin - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        And I truly hope that “people like us” can retire at 60 haha. Hope you got that 401k in order Broheim! Lol

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Kevin has played a lot for his country already… gotta give him credit for all he has done on the U.S. team to this point as he could have sat out but didn’t… until now.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:18 AM

        MJ PLAYED.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:15 AM

      Old school: I’m with you, Malt Mahn. Those Dream teamers like Kobe PLAYED!

  15. fanofthegame79 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    The players filling out the USA teams for non-Olympic events should be first or second year players or d-league players (Lillard, Davis, etc.); build a foundation and allow the young guys to learn the international style. Then have the all-stars compete in the Olympics (LeBron, Durant, etc.)

  16. antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Whoa… that’s… whoa.

    Is this George related, you think? It’s gotta be. Maybe his agent is telling him, “listen, if you get hurt all those offers for your new shoe deal will vanish. that enormous payday on your next contract will vanish too.”

    But this is unfortunate and a little disappointing.

  17. sisisisisisisi - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    They have to be on crutches or wheel chairs before Parker, Nowitzki, Ginobili, etc. stop competing for their nations.

    The big different between them and the Americans.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      That’s funny.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        Why isn’t LBJ playing for the U.S. team this summer?

      • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        The stars aren’t supposed to be bothered with the world championships. Just the youngins. That’s just American tradition. LeBron did his stint during the world championships when he was younger. Maybe Durant feels he’s too big of a star to keep doing this?

      • pburghballin - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:07 PM

        The stars aren’t to be bothered with this? So Kevin Love, Blake, and Lebron are stars (they obviously are), but Durant is not? Or isn’t on their level? Because he is….cat is the 2nd best basketball player on planet earth. But you’re “disappointed” in him not playing? If there is ANYONE who it’s ok for, it’s KD man… Come on now…don’t be ridiculous.

        You’re a guy who knows his hoops, I’ve been reading here for a long time. But people would take you more seriously if you gave ANYONE any credit for ANYTHING who’s name might not be Lebron James. Get your head out your behind boy…

      • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        I’m disappointed that he was committed to playing this year, and all of us were thankful that he was, and now all of a sudden he’s not, and Team USA’s chances just took a major blow.

        LeBron hasn’t been expected to play for the FIBA world championship since 2006. It’s been KD’s job to hold the fort down between the Olympics and everyone thought he was going to keep doing that, but I guess he doesn’t want to anymore.

      • pburghballin - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        I understand where you’re coming from, I do. But he just finished a long playoff run, after carrying a team for large portions of the season, just like Lebron had to at times with Wade and his maintenance program. I’m not surprised if the guy is worn out. All we can do is debate it I guess like we are now. We’re not in his shoes to have to make that decision. He wants to win championships too, just like Lebron does. Maybe he figures this in some way helps that cause? And honestly, and this isn’t the KD fan in me talking, I HIGHLY doubt it has anything to do with any possible pending shoe endorsement deal (not that I’ve seen you mention that, just commenting in general).

      • antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:17 AM

        It would’ve been better if he would’ve not pulled out after already showing up. That’s the only questionable thing.

  18. crazycane - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    If this were LeBron, he would leave to Spain and demand they trade for Dirk and Manu.

  19. tomtravis76 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    This has nothing to do with basketball, it’s a nuclear bomb being shot by Durants camp at Nike. He won’t wear anymore Nike gear on the court, and especially not in a world stage. KD is letting everyone know he will be rocking Under Armour. This is all business.

  20. uscoach - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    I heard he was pissed, and left because future teammates Bradley Beal and John Wall were cut.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      Who’d you hear that from?

  21. geejon - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Something is really fishy here.

    That press release that someone else wrote for him is full of it.

    Just now, right at final cuts and as the team will soon be departing to Europe he leaves all his teammates and coaches hanging and decides “he’s tired and wants concentrate on the regular season”? GTFOH.

    I’d love to know what his teammates are saying PRIVATELY. They went from “winning it for Paul” to this dude being like “yo good luck with that. I’m out”.

  22. atahualpaoxford - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    This, my friends, is the sound of the gold medal slowly disappearing from the radar….

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