In news that comes as a bit of a surprise, Kevin Durant has decided to withdraw from Team USA for the upcoming 2014 FIBA World Cup. According to a statement released by Durant, the reigning NBA MVP decided he needed "to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically, in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season."
The statement, in full, via press release:
"This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. 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 USAV and look forward to future opportunities with them."
The physical and mental exhaustion is likely more attributable to the fact that, after a deep playoff run, combined with a release of his KD7 sneaker that required numerous public appearances, which then fed directly into more Team USA obligations, Durant hasn't really had any time off following his MVP campaign in 2013-14.
On top of that, Durant is this year's cover athlete for NBA 2K15, and has been involved in multiple advertisements for that, as well. And, beyond all of that, Durant now finds himself in negotiations with Under Armour for a new shoe deal.
Basically, Durant has been on a nonstop whirlwind of basketball pretty much since he took the country by storm during the 2010 World Championships in Turkey. And amid all of the extracurricular stuff, he's been a busy man on the court to boot.
Minutes played the past four seasons: 1. Kevin Durant - 11,825 2. Monta Ellis - 11,446 3. LeBron James - 11,168 4. DeMar DeRozan - 11,087— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) August 7, 2014
The news is a bummer for Team USA, but it is probably good news for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as their star can now rest up for what can only be expected to be another championship run. The Thunder are now down to just one representative in the 2014 FIBA World Cup with Serge Ibaka representing Spain. Russell Westbrook pulled out of his Team USA obligations last month to rest his knee that had been operated on three times over the past year.
And just in case anyone is scared this may be part of something bigger, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports that it is nothing serious:
One source close to the situation says of Durant, "He's not hurt."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 7, 2014