Changes within the United States men’s team for the Tokyo Games continued this Friday with the departure of power forward Kevin Love, injured, and the additions of JaVale McGee and guard-forward Keldon Johnson.
Love, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, decided to retire before the United States delegation travels to Japan, considering that he had not reached the necessary level he needed to compete, claiming that he has not fully recovered from a right leg injury. His discharge comes a day after USA Basketball announced the departure of guard Bradley Beal, from the Washington Wizards, after being infected with Covid-19, while power forward Jerami Grant, from the Detroit Pistons, is also under health and safety protocols after having been in contact with another positive case.
Beal, without time to comply with the quarantine before the team travels to Japan next Monday, had to be discharged, while Grant could make the trip with the team.
Love, through his agent, Jeff Schwartz, released a statement in which he said that he had not yet reached his best form after suffering a right calf injury that kept him out of competition for much of the season. regular.
“I am incredibly disappointed not to go to Tokyo with the United States team,” Love said in the statement. “But you need to be at peak performance to compete at the Olympic level and I am not there yet.”
Love would have been trying to get a second Olympic gold medal, having played for the United States in London in 2012. He was also on the team that won the gold at the 2010 world championships. At the current concentration he had played in two of the three American exhibition games in Las Vegas, scoring one point.
Love’s departure leaves the United States national team without a white player and for the first time in its history there will be an Olympic team made up of all its black components.
Love’s position will be filled by McGee of the Denver Nuggets, who has already received the call to the national team and is expected to arrive today at the Las Vegas concentration. McGee, 33, had already been a finalist on the Team USA list.
As for Keldon Johnson, 21, the new talent of the San Antonio Spurs, led by Gregg Popovich, also head of the national team, it is not surprising, given that he was already with the Olympic preparation team and had become the favorite of the technicians.
The last exhibition game of the United States team is scheduled for Sunday against Spain and after spending the night in Las Vegas on Monday, the entire delegation will travel to Japan on a charter flight. The United States will play its first Olympic match against France on July 25.