Nets’ Kevin Durant may still play for Team USA in 2020 Olympics despite missing entire NBA season

Kevin Durant is expected to miss the entirety of the 2019-20 NBA season after suffering a torn Achilles as a member of the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Finals, but just because he isn’t suiting up for the Nets this season doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this summer. According to Rich Kleiman, Durant’s friend, manager and business partner, the Olympics are still potentially in play for Durant. The possibility of him participating obviously depends on how he continues to recover.  Durant was one of 44 finalists for the 12-man roster named by Team USA last month. 

“(Tokyo is) definitely a possibility,” Kleinman said, via the Washington Post. “He allowed his name to be in the group of finalists. “But there are other benchmarks in front of him that are more important before he makes those decisions.”

Regardless of if he plays in Tokyo or not, Kleinman expects to see Durant bounce back from the Achilles injury and regain the form that made him one of the most dominant players in the league over the past decade. 

“I have no question he’ll be back better than ever,” Kleiman said. “By next season, I expect nothing but KD. Great things will happen. Injuries are a part of the game, and it’s obviously been a bit frustrating. The Nets are still in playoff position. The players are developing and getting better. I expect things to pick up. Everyone knows what [Durant and Kyrie Irving] can do when they’re playing and healthy.”

The final 12-man roster will be selected by managing director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo, along with the coaching staff comprised of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University coach Jay Wright. There will not be a tryout for the team. Training camp will take place in early July with games set to start on July 24. 

If Durant ultimately does decide to suit up for Team USA it won’t be the first time, as the former NBA MVP won gold medals as a member of the team in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Brooklyn’s front office probably isn’t too happy about the prospect of Durant wearing a Team USA jersey before he ever wears a Nets one, but at the end of the day you can’t prevent a player from representing his country if he wants to. Plus, on the bright side for Brooklyn, if Durant does play in Tokyo he’ll come into next season with some high-level competition under his belt, as opposed to returning cold after an extended amount of time off.