For a second week in a row, Team USA suffers a major blow to its roster with the FIBA World Cup right around the corner. Today, Kevin Durant announced that he’s decided not to play, citing his mental and physical exhaustion.
“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,” he continued.
It’s unclear if the NBA MVP’s decision was affected by the gruesome injury Paul George suffered last Friday. But in any case, Durant was a large centerpiece of the team’s offense, and with his absence (and Spain’s talented roster), it will be a daunting task for the U.S. of A. to win it all.