USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said he was “disappointed” NBA MVP Kevin Durant withdrew from the team, but he was not surprised.
Durant left the team, saying in a statement he wanted to rest and prepare for the NBA season that begins in less than two months. After the broken leg suffered by Paul George a week ago, Durant’s exit is the second major setback for Team USA, which begins play in the FIBA World Cup Aug. 30.
Team USA now has 15 players and must reduce the roster to 12.
Colangelo, attending the Naismith Hall of Fame Reunion Dinner, said he had no issues with Durant’s decision.
“I sensed last week in Las Vegas that he wasn’t quite the same,” Colangelo said. “He seemed a little, not distracted, he just wasn’t Kevin Durant in my mind. So when he called, I can’t tell you I was totally surprised or shocked. I was disappointed obviously, but I made sure he understood that I get it. I understand it.
“If he’s feeling to the point where he doesn’t feel he could go forward, physically and mentally, you have to respect that. We get it. We understand it.”
Colangelo said he has received calls from several agents volunteering their clients for Durant’s vacant spot. The chairman said adding another player is an option.
“I’m at the stage now where I feel like I’m in a minefield and I’m treading carefully,” Colangelo said. “I don’t know where we go [with the spot]. I know we have talent. Usually when there’s adversity, there’s opportunity for someone to have a chance. That’s the case here.”Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.