Kevin Durant has withdrawn from the U.S. team for the inaugural World Cup of Basketball, citing mental and physical fatigue.
USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo announced Durant's decision in a statement and said Durant told him and coach Mike Krzyzewski he was withdrawing because he was "physically and mentally drained" from last NBA season and his offseason responsibilities. Durant's withdrawal came less than a week after Indiana Pacers guard Paul George broke his leg in Team USA's scrimmage – an injury that could sideline him for the entire 2014-15 season. Kevin Love and Blake Griffin also withdrew shortly before the start of training camp.
"This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country," Durant said in a statement. "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 USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them."
Durant made no mention of George's injury in his statement. A USA Basketball spokesman said George's injury was not a reason for the withdrawal.
Durant was the marquee player on USA's roster after averaging 32 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season and winning gold medals during the 2010 world championships and 2014 Olympics.
Durant's withdrawal leaves the U.S. with 15 players. USA Basketball officials must submit their official 12-player roster before the tournament begins in Spain on Aug. 30.
Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving are among the top scorers still on the roster. The team's training camp will resume in Chicago on Aug. 14.
Durant "tried to give it a go at our recent Las Vegas training camp, but felt coming out of camp that he was not prepared to fulfill the commitment he made to the team," Colangelo said. "Coach K and I fully support Kevin. His well being is the most important thing to us and we support him taking the time to get ready for next season. He's been part of the National Team program for eight years and a big part of the success we have achieved, and we look forward to him being part of our success in the future as well.
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