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Report: Injury not the reason Kevin Durant pulled out of USA Basketball this summer

Aug 7, 2014, 11:14 PM EDT

US forward Kevin Durant and US forward K Getty Images

Kevin Durant made a surprise announcement on Thursday, pulling out of USA Basketball this summer in favor of resting and recharging for the upcoming NBA season instead.

“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.”

This is good news for Thunder fans, as Durant won’t be expending energy (or risking injury) putting miles on his body somewhat needlessly for an international competition that means very little to the majority of folks in the states.

There’s additional good news, in that Durant withdrawing has nothing to do with him being physically unable to play.

From Ramona Shelburne of

From what I hear, USAB officials started getting wind of Durant’s situation yesterday.

One source close to the situation says of Durant, “He’s not hurt.”

So if Durant isn’t injured, why the change of heart?

Kevin Love was a late scratch due to the ongoing trade talks involving him being dealt to the Cavaliers, which is understandable, because had he suffered an injury similar to the one that sidelined Paul George, the trade would likely have been called off. Blake Griffin also bailed at the last minute, initially for no reason at all, before word leaked that a back injury forced him to get some rest before the grind of the NBA’s regular season begins in a couple of months.

With Durant, it’s a bit murkier. He participated in the Las Vegas mini-camp, so he was on board, at least initially.

There were rumblings that a potential change in sneaker endorsers might be to blame, but that seems far-fetched (at best). What may be more of an impetus is LeBron James forming a new super-team in Cleveland, which would make Durant’s road to a title that much more difficult, even if his Thunder could somehow find a way to get past the Sours in the highly-competitive Western Conference.

As we discussed at the time of George’s injury, the game’s top players may more seriously consider their NBA legacies after that sobering reminder of how quickly things can change. Durant isn’t injured now, but the possibility of it occurring during a relatively meaningless competition is what likely caused his sudden decision to sit the rest of the summer out.

  1. hwatt - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    ultra street fighter 4 dropped on pc today, time for him to step up his combos. we know what’s up

  2. antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    “..even if his Thunder could somehow find a way to get past the Sours in the highly-competitive Western Conference.”

    That’s an appropriate name for them… the Sours. That’s the expression on their faces most of the time.

    • savvybynature - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:45 AM

      That’s the look on their face for 48 minutes, then it turns to glee when they are done pasting your favorite player by 17+ points in the Finals for the third game in a row.

      • money2long - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:53 AM


      • antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:13 AM

        Only because they had suffered the most crushing Finals defeat in recent memory the year before in Game 6. I’d be happy too. But that only last about 3 minutes before they were back to being grumpy.

  3. mungman69 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    The NBA is more important to him than exhibition basketball, you can’t blame him.

  4. pavelfitzgerald - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    Whose the Sours?

    • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      Look up a picture of Gregg Popovich.

      • money2long - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:54 AM

        Or lebron in game 5 against the spurs.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:18 AM

        Or the the Spurs after… well… anything. A cadaver is more photogenic.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM


        It’s ALL about winning…

        NOT the look on their faces…

      • antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        Even when they win, nobody cares – so what’s the point? Maybe that’s why the Sours are always so sour.

  5. charlescub80 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    You know the Thunder was pressuring him to pull out. All teams are in panic mode.

  6. seasickcecil - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Sours is a commune in the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France.

  7. elcapitanfiscal - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    He withdrew because he hates America.

  8. tn16 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:20 AM

    The new powerhouse In the west the sours.

  9. harshedmellow - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    He needs to follow LBJ’s lead and stay out of this stuff. Save his energies and body for the best league in the world- the NBA. Reigning MVP, league scoring champ…. that’s where he should focus.

    • money2long - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:59 AM

      Lebron should be well rested. His “camp” handled the free agency circus. He has been pretty undercover. But he did deliver cupcakes. That said, what’s the over-under for the amount of cramps lebron will suffer in the upcoming season?

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        he didn’t even deliver the cupcakes man…

        dude’s been on the low… ALL summer.

  10. ravenswhat - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    I don’t blame him. This is a meaningless set of games. It’s not the Olympics. This guy has bigger things to worry about. These games should be for college players. We already proved everything we need to.

  11. pudgalvin - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Thibs is mumbling to himself as he nods off in the film room, “More than enough to win, more than enough to win.”

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