With no idea where he will be playing in the NBA next season, Kevin Love has withdrawn from this summer’s Team USA basketball roster.
Love is in limbo while the Minnesota Timberwolves field offers for their three-time All-Star, a process that was complicated and likely lengthened when Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Andrew Wiggins signed his contract this week.
Love is the latest All-Star to pull out of Team USA, which begins its training camp in Las Vegas next week to prepare for the FIBA World Cup in Spain. In recent weeks, the Americans have lost Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. They have 18 players remaining and will choose 12 for the World Cup of Basketball roster.
Love, who won gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and 2010 world championship and was one of the first players to commit to play this summer, told USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo that he would be unavailable for training camp that starts Monday.
“He wants to play, but it’s a little bit of a sign of the times when you look at the league in terms of contracts, rumored trades,” Colangelo told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “All of those circumstances puts players in a funny position.”
The Cavaliers have been in pursuit of Love since before the draft. Their chances of landing Love increased exponentially when LeBron James chose to return to play in Cleveland.
The Timberwolves have demanded Wiggins, the No. 1 overall draft pick, in a package in return for Love, and the Cavaliers have gradually softened on their position to include the dynamic 19-year-old wing player in trade talks.
Under NBA rules, Wiggins cannot be traded until 30 days after he signed his contract with the Cavaliers.
That length of time allows other teams to make offers for Love as well, but it also makes it too risky for him to play with Team USA. An injury could derail any trade possibilities, so Love had to take the difficult step of informing Colangelo on Friday night that he would not be able to participate.
Photo via Twitter/@SportsCenter