Love Withdraws from Team USA

There is uncertainty which team Kevin Love will play for next season, but the next jersey he puts on won’t belong to Team USA.

For the second time this week, an All-Star power forward dismissed himself from the team representing the United States in the inaugural World Cup of Basketball. 

Blake Griffin and Love were among the 19 players selected to compete for a position on the American roster this summer, but both players opted to leave the team, creating a lack of size for the team in next month’s competition.

Two years ago as Team USA was preparing to defend its gold medal at the London Olympics, Griffin was forced to leave the team after being diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his left knee, an injury that required a surgical procedure to repair.

Once Griffin left the team, the United States extended an invitation to Washington point guard John Wall.

The absence of Love is being attributed to the uncertainty surrounding his future with the Timberwovles.

The All-Star forward has the ability to opt out of his contract after the 2014-15 season and Love has already stated his intentions to enter free agency.

Kevin Love has withdrawn his name from consideration as a member of Team USA in the upcoming World Cup of Basketball in Spain.

Representatives for Love have even informed the front office in Minnesota he will enter free agency and not return to the team.

Love has yet to demand a trade to leave Minnesota, but the team is interested in dealing him instead of potentially losing him without any return next summer.

Numerous suitors have emerged, with the most intriguing being Cleveland.

Immediately after signing a deal to return to the Cavaliers, LeBron James became a recruiter, reaching out to Love in an attempt to bolster the roster.

James is trying to convince him to force a trade to Cleveland, only the package in return for Love could be steep.

Reports have surfaced about the willingness of the Cavaliers to include Andrew Wiggins, the first overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft along with Anthony Bennett, the top selection in 2013 draft class.

Wiggins and the Cavaliers agreed to a four-year deal, with the third and fourth seasons having a team option, but the contract will pay the 6-foot-8 guard $5.5 million next year.

After signing the contract, Wiggins can’t be included in any deal for 30 days, a stipulation that also pauses the pursuit of Chicago for Love.

The Bulls are another team trying to land Love in a trade before the start of the regular season.

Chicago has reportedly offered European sensation Nikola Mirotic, power fowrad Taj Gibson and rookie sharp-shooter Doug McDermott.

Minnesota forward Kevin Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game last season.

One of the difficulties any team faces in dealing for Love is convincing him to sign a long term contract.

The team originally linked to Love in trade rumors, Golden State, is still a factor and is the only team not offering a promising rookie.

The Warriors have been reluctant to include Klay Thompson, a shooting guard still competing for a roster spot on Team USA this summer.

Minnesota has been adamant about including Thompson in any trade for Love, but then the team must negotiate a new deal with Thompson.

As one of the most promising shooting guards in the league, after averaging 18.4 points and knocking down 223 shots from 3-point range, the second most in the league, Thompson is looking for a maximum contract.

A max deal for Thompson would mean an annual salary starting at $19 million per season.

The Warriors have offered David Lee, Thompson and other players but haven’t made much progress in their pursuit of Love, an ongoing saga that has lasted months.

Team USA’s six-day training camp begins in Las Vegas on Monday, with the 18-man roster set to be slimmed down to 12 players.

The United States will then play exhibition games in Chicago, New York and Gran Canaria, Spain before starting tournament play against Finland on August 30.

Love was supposed to be one of just four players from the 2012 Olympic team, but decided to withdraw to avoid being a distraction.

Numerous teams are still pursuing Love but the United States will have to find a way to win without him.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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