Team USA’s roster for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics endured yet another question mark this week. One day after it was announced that Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal would be forced out of the Olympics after entering health and safety protocol, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love announced his withdrawal. Love cited his dissatisfaction with his current performance as the reason why in an article from Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.
“I am incredibly disappointed to not be heading to Tokyo with Team USA, but you need to be at absolute peak performance to compete at the Olympic level and I am just not there yet.”
Injuries have sapped away at Love’s availability, particularly over the last three seasons. He’s played in 103 of a possible 219 games (just 47.0 percent) dating back to the 2018-19 season. As Fedor notes, Love is still dealing with the effects of a calf injury that sidelined him last season, and once practices and training picked up, it was clear that Love wouldn’t be able to contribute as he expected.
“During 10 days of preparation — a combination of practices, scrimmages, and exhibition games — it became painfully obvious Love wouldn’t be able to help the Americans. He received limited action in two of the three tune-ups. His play was worrisome, struggling at both ends of the floor and looking old and slow, unable to create space to get clean looks at the hoop while finishing with more fouls than points. He looked completely out of place — the least effective player on the team.”
The rest of Fedor’s article looks into the question of if Love — with 13 seasons and 25,383 professional minutes on his legs — will ever be able to function at the health he anticipates again, particularly since retirement reportedly hasn’t been discussed.
Love’s name came up in tandem with the Portland Trail Blazers as a possible trade destination only a couple of weeks ago. How his continued struggles with his calf injury impact that buzz remains to be seen.