Kevin Love will miss his chance to compete for a second gold medal with Team USA at the rescheduled 2020 Olympics.
The Cavaliers big man confirmed Friday he is withdrawing from the Summer Games in Tokyo because he feels he is not prepared to compete at an Olympic level.
“I am incredibly disappointed to not be heading to Tokyo with Team USA, but you need to be at absolute peak performance to compete at the Olympic level and I am just not there yet,” Love said in a statement shared with ESPN by his Excel Basketball agent Jeff Schwartz.
Love committed to Team USA’s 12-man roster after a season of career lows, due in part to a nagging calf injury that sidelined him for most of the season. The 32-year-old played in just 25 games this year and averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Love spent the last 10 days training with Team USA in Las Vegas under coach Gregg Popovich — who alluded that Love’s decision to play in the Olympics was somewhat of a quest to get back to playing at a higher level.
“We’re going to work his a— off the next four to five weeks and demand a lot,” Popovich said last week after the team’s first practice. “That’s going to definitely get him back into the rhythm he needs to be in to continue to play. I think that’s one of the big reasons he wanted to do this, so he can get himself back to who he was.”
Love also discussed his commitment to Team USA, and admitted he had “a lot to prove” at the Summer Games.
“All I can do is go out there and chase the game, let everything fall into place and just bust my a– and see what I can do for this team,” the five-time NBA All-Star said days before he withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics.
Love’s Olympic run this summer, depending on performance, could’ve been his ticket out of Cleveland, which is in the midst of a major rebuild he seemingly doesn’t fit in. He just finished the second year of a four-year, $120 million contract extension with the Cavs.
Team USA is now looking to replace Love, as well as Bradley Beal, who was ruled out of the Summer Games Thursday, after entering health and safety protocols this week. Team USA is expected to announce roster replacements at a later time.
Jerami Grant of Team USA also entered health and safety protocols, according to multiple reports.
On Thursday, USA Basketball made the decision to cancel Team USA’s exhibition game against Australia that was scheduled for Friday — a move made out of an abundance of caution amid the protocol news.
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