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Kevin Durant withdraws from Team USA for 2014 FIBA World Cup

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The recent injury to Paul George did not have an effect on the decision, but the reigning MVP cited physical and mental exhaustion for pulling out of the international competition.

Ethan Miller

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."

Durant has made it clear, according to multiple reports, that the injury to Paul George in last Friday's scrimmage did not have an impact on the decision.

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.

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: