Training camp for Team USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup team kicks off in early August. A number of NBA stars on the initial training camp list have pulled out, Cavs forward Kevin Love could be the next player on that list.
According The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, Love, along with Portland’s Damian Lillard, is “on the fence” about participating in the World Cup, which starts on Sept. 1 in China. Per Vardon, Love is expected to make his decision in the next few days, as is Lillard.
On one hand, it’d be cool to see Love play. With so many stars — Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, James Harden, etc. — out, Love could be a focal point of the offense along with Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell. And since injuries cut his season short last year, some court time couldn’t hurt ahead of the 2019-20 season. It’d also be memorable for Love to play for Gregg Popovich, who is coaching the team.
But on the other hand, injuries and his health going into the season are a key why Love might not want to play. The tournament runs right up to the start of the Cavs’ training camp, which might not be ideal. There’s also the injury risk of playing at all.
Before he was traded to the Cavs in 2014, Love declined to play for Team USA as his future was figured out. This, though, is a much different scenario.
In addition to Love, Cedi Osman and Matthew Dellavedova are expected to play for Turkey and Australia respectively.
Correction: This post originally indicated that Tristan Thompson would be playing for Team Canada; he has already withdrawn.