USA loses Love to trade uncertainty


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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Kevin Love‘s desire to find a new team will have an effect on the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

USA Basketball announced Saturday morning that Love won’t be participating for the National Team this summer, because of “his current status.” It’s safe to assume that Love expects to be traded in the near future and doesn’t want to risk injury.

His decision leaves the USA with 18 players in training camp, which is set to begin Monday in Las Vegas. Among them are only four true big men: DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Kenneth Faried. Blake Griffin withdrew on Friday.

The U.S. carried just three true bigs on its gold-medal-winning rosters in 2008, ’10 and ’12. And they rarely had more than one on the floor at any time, with the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant usually playing power forward. So, from a number-of-bodies standpoint, they’re still OK. But Love gave them an ability to put five 3-point shooters on the floor at one time. Davis’ mid-range game has improved quite a bit, but he isn’t the perimeter threat Love is.

The frontline will also be a concern for a potential gold-medal-game matchup with Spain. Barring a last-minute injury, the World Cup hosts will have NBA bigs Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Victor Claver on their roster.

Davis, who was the 12th man on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, now seems like a lock to be the starting center and, along with Durant, a team leader in minutes. Frontline depth is clearly an issue, as Drummond, Faried and Cousins all have no senior-level international experience. Unless Dwight Howard or Tyson Chandler come to the rescue, any last-minute additions to the roster would be similarly inexperienced.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said last week that he hopes to cut the roster down to “about 15″ players after next week’s camp in Las Vegas. If he feels like he needs to bring another big for exhibition games in Chicago and New York, he could dip into the Select Team roster, which includes Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee and Cody Zeller.

The situation is reminiscent of 2010, when, before the first day of training camp was over, three bigs were crossed off the list. Robin Lopez decided to continue rehabbing a back injury, the Knicks wouldn’t allow Amar’e Stoudemire (who had no insurance on his new contract) to participate, and David Lee was lost to a finger injury. Brook Lopez (recovering from mono) was later knocked out, and the U.S. went to Turkey with Chandler, Love and Lamar Odom as its bigs.

That year, the U.S. relied on defense, Durant, speed and shooting to win the World Championship. The formula should be the same this time around, but the last category took a hit on Saturday and the margin for error is now thinner than it was four years ago.

46 Comments

  1. ko0kiE says:

    it won’t be such a good defensive team as the years before… cp3, westbrook, lebron and igoudala were all stoppers now missing..

  2. Steve K says:

    The Timberwolves should be contracted or moved to a state star players want to stay. What a lousy history and future from where I’m looking. Maybe they will get Jeff Hornacek in the trade.

  3. JP says:

    With the addition of Milsap and him being an all-star last year this would be a pretty good line up

    PG-Curry/wall/Irving
    SG-Harden/DeRozan
    SF-George/Milsap/Parsons
    PF-Durant/Davis/
    C-Cousins/Drummond

    Notable combos- Davis can play the C position if needed Durant will most likely stick at the 4 cause of his quickness while Milsap and Parson can rotate at the 4 as well and Derozan can also rotate to the 3 while Irving can rotate to the 2 if need be

  4. tenby0630 says:

    PG – Kyrie Irving
    SG – James Harden
    SF – Kevin Durant
    C – DeMarcus Cousins
    PF – Anthony Davies

    Bench:
    PG – Stephen Curry
    SG – Klay Thompson
    SF – Paul George
    C – Andre Drummond
    PF – Kenneth Faried

    PG – Derrick Rose
    SF – Chandler Parsons

  5. PHILIPINES TEAM! says:

    Man! Andray Blatche is playing for the Philippines, Philippines beat china. That’s a good improvement for a team climbing up 11+ . I love NBA but I have to root for my country despite size and speed. And of course USA is my second team :) I would love De Andre Jordan to play center for USA.

  6. fredgb21 says:

    D. Cousins is a good rebounder that’s it. He racks up stats in Sacto because he’s allowed to do a lot of things he’s not very good at. Yes, he is very versatile for a true big, but don’t get that confused with being good at those things. He kind of reminds me of the Center version of Josh Smith. In a format like USA basketball, you have 4 other stars on the floor. If you need Cousins to be just a great center and stick to his role, that’s not what he is. Andre Drummond is already a better pure center than Cousins and in two years it won’t even be close.

  7. fredgb21 says:

    People overrated D. Cousins. He’s not good at anything besides rebounding. He obviously has a ton of versatility for a big, but that’s why he’s overrated, especially in a format with 5 star players on the floor. He racks up numbers in Sacto because he’s allowed to pretend to be a primary ball handler, pick and pop guy and spot up guy. He’s allowed to do things he’s not good at, but is more capable of than the average center.

    When it comes to being a true center with 4 other stars on the floor, A. Drummond is already better than cousins, he fits that role better. And in two years it won’t even be close.

  8. Minty says:

    USA probably has the easiest schedule in the Tournament. They shouldn’t have a problem averaging 30+ points margin of victory until the Semi’s. By which point the games might have some level of real competition for them. Then things might start to get interesting. Until then it’s a highlight real.
    I just hope the USA don’t get over confident facing the lower competition early on and slip up later on.
    Or actually, I’m not supporting team USA, I hope that does happen ;)

  9. abdul weedar says:

    hmm, skinny boys team usa, they are in trouble, that reminds me this pathetic team with carter, anthony, shawn kemp, odom etc.

  10. utku says:

    irving-george-durant-davies-cousins… matchup problems will be advantage of usa. “if” this team “can” defense then nope.. in case, they will go fishing in semis or quarters..they still need a 4th big guy in this roster..

  11. YungMussuBlack says:

    Mason Plumlee? No-can-do. We need him fresh for the start of next season. And, don’t even think about signing him up for the slam dunk competition. Yes, we are a bit protective and possessive. Now, run along!

  12. Antony Taylor says:

    Team USA
    PG:Kyrie Irving/Stephen Curry/Damian Lillard/John Wall
    SG:James Harden/Klay Thompson
    SF:Kevin Durant/Paul George/Chandler Parsons
    PF:Anthony Davis
    C:DeMarcus Cousins/Andre Drummond

  13. Antony Taylor says:

    PG:Kyrie Irving
    SG:James Harden
    SF:Kevin Durant
    PF:Anthony Davis
    C:DeMarcus Cousins

    Thats a scary starting line up if you ask me. I mean who wants to face that? Yes the absence of LeBron ,Blake Griffin , and Kevin Love is a major blow but these guys are more than capable of gettimg the job done , plus its exciting to see different face and new guys get a chance to represent our country.We’re still walking away with that gold.

  14. expatde says:

    Would any quality NBA player want to join the ranks of Amar’e Stoudemire, David Lee, Brook Lopez and Lamar Odom? My old spaniel would be the best dog in that kennel!

  15. Poor bastard says:

    Do you remember when Popovich was summoned with 250.000$ because he withdrew three of his starters in a game at Miami? Well, three months ago, I paid 200$ to see USA Team at the World Cup. The team was Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Rusell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Lamarcus Aldridge…. and what do we got? Who is going to compensate me?

  16. Mattcap2014 says:

    I wouldn’t be worried about center position. Those guys can ball, or Colangelo wouldn’t have them on the roster. I wouldn’t overlook Cousins, the guy averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds and shot 49% from the field last year. And that’s against NBA rosters. He can handle the ball and has a mid-range game to go with his back to the basket skills. He will excel in International play, those euro players won’t be able to handle his physicality. He can’t shoot the three like Love, but definitely stands out in other areas. I’m excited to watch some USA Basketball!

  17. Irving / Curry / Lillard
    Harden / George
    Durant / Derozan / Klay Thompson
    Davis / Faried
    Cousins / Drummond

    Strength : Speed, Quickness, Athletic, Rim Protection, Versatility, Depth, 3-pt Shooting, Fastbreak pts

    Weakness : Size, Reliable Defense, Inexpierenced, No other potential threat than KD (Although Harden might bring it)

    The PG position overcrowded with point gaurds, but only one true point gaurd in Irving. Curry/Lillard might play combo gaurds if things don’t work out. The SG position is pretty solid with Harden and George exchanging minutes, but they might see George go SF or PF if possible. So they can spread more minutes for the other gaurds. Durant will definitely play PF so they would have an advantage stretching the floor and giving them a threat. Davis and Cousins however needs to rely on defending the paint as to scoring the ball. Faried and Drummond will bring a spark for a strong second unit.

    12 – Man US Basketball Team 2014

  18. joshua says:

    There’re leaving, we’re losing.

  19. Scisca says:

    Everyone only talks about Spain vs USA as if France wasn’t even there, as if they haven’t defeated Spain recently and didn’t have the most players in the NBA apart from USA. Not to mention two of them are the backbone of the Spurs. It’s not gonna be easy to win, though USA is still the clear favourite.

    • mojache says:

      Neither Tony Parker nor Joakim noah are going to join the France roster. Without their two best players, they don’t stand a chance vs Spain in my opinion.

  20. stlolkop says:

    this will be the lineup:

    PG: Irving, Curry, Lillard
    SG: Harden, Beal
    SF: George, DeRozan
    PF: Durant, Parsons
    C: Davis, Cousins, Drummond

    Obviously players can exchange positions, like harden as a SF or george as a PF

    • Mark D says:

      I think this will be pretty close.

      Team USA like to play with a 3 man C rotation that can rebound and have a post game. They dont need to do anything else. This will be Cousins with Davis and Drummond in rotation.

      They then like to use a 3 man rotation between SF and PF which are essentially interchangeable wings who can get up the floor quickly, spread the floor and can hold their own on defence and help with rebounding. This will be Durant and George with Parsons as the rotation player.

      They then like to interchange a pure shooter and a ball handler at the 2 who can break down defences. Harden gets the start (who may play some 3) but will interchange with Steph Curry (who will play some pg) and Klay Thompson.

      At pg they like guys who can pressure 94 feet, can break people down off the dribble and distribute and who are not turn over prone – they will take D Rose and Kyrie because of their familiarity with the system and the last spot will go to one of Lillard or Wall.

    • Derrick says:

      No one is listing D rose as the PG. I just want to c your jaws drop when he’s choose as starting PG. Chi town stand up!

  21. harrythehawk says:

    It’s the summer/off season. At this point, I’m giving anything to watch anything close to NBA basketball. I’m looking forward to this. Don’t really care that Flake Griffin and Kevin Love dropped out. I’ll miss him but I understand why Westbrook dropped out. Looking forward to seeing Derrick Rose make his debut and of course it’s always amazing to watch Kevin Durant. Our MVP. Go USA!

  22. J. Evans says:

    Curry, Irving, Lillard
    Harden, DeRozan, Thompson
    Durant,* George, *Parsons
    Davis,
    Cousins, Drummond

    *Can be used as backup stretch PF’s.

  23. asapclothing says:

    PG-Paul / westbrook / Curry

    SG-Anthony / harden / george

    SF-lebron / durant

    PF-(love PF-C) Griffin / aldriged

    C–howard / cousins

    if player would quit being so egotistical as if they are too good for the Olympics

    ..

    • Dieter says:

      Egoism has nothing to do with it, those players also have families and friends. Having a summer break is completely understandable.

  24. Tony C says:

    Lebron and Love are going to win championships in Cleveland and it is going to be something special. I can feel it. Can’t wait for the season to start.

  25. John says:

    Team USA is always neglecting its bigs and playing small ball. They’re not going to suffer much from having a shortage of true power forwards and centers, since Team USA just benches them anyway.

  26. Mick J says:

    My lineup:

    PG: Curry/Irving/Wall/Lillard
    SG: Harden/Thompson
    SF: Durant/George/Parsons
    PF: Davis/(Durant as stretch 4)
    C: Cousins/Drummond

    I’m carrying 4 point guards but in reality only 1 true PG in Wall. I think you can play all of them in the back court and just kill other teams backcourt with our quickness, speed, and shooting. I think you have to have WAll on your roster because he’s our best defensive PG by far and one we’ll need to match up against Rubio. On my wings, I got a good mix of length (Parsons), shooting (Harden, Thompson), and defense (George) depending on need. Oh and the MVP too. My front court is thin but we only need to match up with the Gasol brothers and Ibaka really so I think we’re ok there. But with Griffin, Love and Aldridge dropping out, Davis will be crucial. If he gets injured, I think we’re in serious trouble against Spain. I still think with this “B” lineup we still crush most teams by 20+. But the inevitable gold medal game against Spain will be tougher. We still win by double digits.

  27. Cam says:

    If they believe it is such an “honor” to be selected then no one would ever opt out of playing. We are asking them to represent USA basketball, not risk their lives going to war. It is extremely selfish and unpatriotic, and it shows their allegiance is to self, not to their country. So at least if you are going to opt out, be honest and don’t use all of these sorry excuses. Because instead of being only unpatriotic, you are now also a liar.

    • Cam says:

      But come to think of it, isn’t this what America has become all about?

    • lee says:

      Would you want yo give up the llittle vacation time and free time in thevyear you have to risk your career because I wouldnt all these guys who have injury riddled seasons like love and d rose shouldn’t be in this the should be resting because yes their career is more important then risking injury for their country

      • Steve K says:

        It’s not like Love had a long playoff run, dude has plenty of free time. You would think he would want to be on a team that were favored.

  28. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    actually i forgot that KD is still playing, but even without him they should be overwhelming favorites, but still Spain will give them a good fight and maybe even beat them, they’re playing at home

  29. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    it’s gonna be pretty tough to beat Spain with that roster.

  30. vinsanefan says:

    It’s time for Coach K and Colangelo to male a visit to Dwight Howard. Also, I’m not sure why Lamarcus Aldridge wasn’t on the squad to begin with. He’s better than any other big man on the roster with the possible exception of Anthony Davis. It’s too bad that Griffin won’t play. It would be fun to see him dunk on a bunch of hapless international players.

    • TROLLKING says:

      Aldridge said basically ‘thanks but no thanks’ as to be asked to participate man, that’s why.

  31. ko0kiE says:

    well it’s getting more and more a B-Team… at least they’re stacked at the guard position.

    but i would have loved the defensive team like russel westbrook, paul george, kahwaii leonard, lebron james and anthony davis.

    but nontheless I think KD, PG(-13?) and Harden will dominate.. and don’t be suprised if anthony davis has stepped up his game again..

  32. Byrd says:

    Still a great pool of players and they can win with that pool

  33. jdub455 says:

    bummer…. at least the competition will be stiffer… usa must be efficient offensively to win on this one… the depth and athleticism of the team will carry them against the bigs of the other teams eventually…

    • People say they don’t want to give up their free time? You can’t be serious!! They get paid millions of dollars to play basketball, and even if they play during the Olympics, they still have quite a bit of ffree time! How about those of us working year round? We don’t get paid a ton of money, and we don’t get alot of time off. So cry me a river!

      I’ve lost all respect for every single player that dropped out, except for those with injuries.

      That being said, give me wall, lillard, and curry. Along with harden, klay Thompson. Durant, Parsons, Davis, drummond, cousins… then take a pick really. I’d put d rose, and millsap in there as well.

      Another Olympics that lebron and several others said they were definitely going to play and backed out.

      In 92, with the dream team, and then the dream team II… You’d never have seen any of those guys drop out like this. Hell, bird played through injury. I miss those days!

      Here’s to hoping that next go around, we will have our best team possible. Where every single one of the best players, with respect to their positions, are ready to ball!