USA men’s basketball was down a player when the team traveled to Tokyo on Monday ahead of the fast-approaching Olympics.
Zach Lavine has been placed under health and safety protocols, per NBA insider Shams Charania. He didn’t travel to Tokyo with the rest of Team USA on Monday. There’s optimism he will still be able to play when Olympic competition begins later this month.
Lavine had been playing well in exhibition games up to this point. He scored 13 points, grabbed two rebounds and dished out two assists in USA’s win over Spain over the weekend. He was efficient from the floor, making five of his eight shots and going 3-for-5 from three-point range.
There’s still hope Lavine can compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Regardless, this puts Gregg Popovich in a bind.
Team USA's Zach LaVine has been placed under health and safety protocols and will not travel with the team to Tokyo today. USAB hopes LaVine will be able to join the team in Tokyo later this week.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 19, 2021
USA basketball has dealt with a number of COVID-related issues – and the Olympics have yet to officially begin.
Wizards star Bradley Beal – one of USA’s best players this year – will not play in the Tokyo Olympics after being placed in health and safety protocol. Kevin Love then announced he’d also be withdrawing, but for a different reason.
If Lavine’s unable to give it a go in the Tokyo Olympics, Popovich has a big decision to make. There aren’t many options. Luckily, Suns star Devin Booker and Bucks star Khris Middleton plan to join USA once the NBA Finals conclude.