With Bradley Beal in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Team USA has canceled the fourth game of its pre-Olympic exhibition scheduled.
USA Basketball announced its men's team would not face Australia for a second time Friday, citing "an abundance of caution." The exhibition between the USA women's team and Australia is still on.
Out of an abundance of caution, the USA Men's National Team exhibition versus Australia on Friday has been cancelled.
The USA Women's National Team's matchup with Australia will be played at 2:30 PM ET on NBCSN.
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 16, 2021
Beal was pronounced out for not just Friday's game, but the entire Olympics by USA Basketball earlier Thursday. Forward Jerami Grant was also placed in health and safety protocols, also "out of an abundance of caution."
Beal had started all three exhibition games in the USA backcourt alongside Damian Lillard. It remains unclear who will replace him on the roster — Trae Young seems interested — while his starting spot could go to Zach LaVine or one of Devin Booker or Jrue Holiday once they report to the team.
Team USA's rocky start
The development is the latest blow to a nightmare start for Team USA as it prepares for its trip to Tokyo.
The team's exhibition schedule began with a thud when it lost to Nigeria 90-87 in its opener. Things became even more dire after a 91-83 loss to Australia, reminiscent of the 2019 exhibition loss that prefaced the team's disastrous FIBA World Cup showing.
Team USA finally added a win against Argentina, but even two exhibition losses is basically post-Dream Team in modern USA basketball history. And now, the team is missing its fourth exhibition and a chance at a rematch against Australia after losing a player who averaged 31.3 points per game this season.
The Americans are still the overwhelming favorites to win gold in Tokyo at -400 with BetMGM, the team undeniably has some things to work through before tipping off against France on July 25.
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