Kevin Durant is expected to commit to Team USA Basketball for next month's Tokyo Olympics, Shams Charania reported for the The Athletic and Stadium.
Durant and the Brooklyn Nets were eliminated from the NBA playoffs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday night. With a shortened offseason as the NBA gets back to its standard season tip-off time following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many NBA stars may opt not to represent the U.S. this summer.
Kevin Durant, Nets eliminated from playoffs in Game 7 OT
The Milwaukee Bucks advanced over the Nets with a 115-111 overtime victory despite Durant's 48 points, nine rebounds and six assists. It was the most scored by a player in a Game 7 in NBA history.
The Nets forced a shot clock violation to give themselves a final possession trailing by two in regulation. Durant nearly sent Brooklyn into the conference finals hitting what appeared to be a contested 3-pointer with less than two seconds left. But on review, it was clear his toes were slightly over the arc, reverting it back to a two-point shot and sending the game to overtime.
The Bucks will play either the Philadelphia 76ers or Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals. Those two teams play a Game 7 on Sunday night.
The entire playoffs would typically be wrapped up by now, but they were pushed back a little given the league restarted in December following a shorter offseason. Instead, the playoffs could run through July 22 if all seven games of the NBA Finals are needed.
NBA stars might opt not to play in 2021 Olympics
The Olympics in Tokyo start on July 23 and run through Aug. 8. It creates a short turnaround for players who go deep into the NBA playoffs, and the turnaround on the back end to report to training camp is short, as well.
The league has been rocked by injuries this season and many attribute it to the schedule situation. It could mean more players opting not to represent the United States at the Olympic level.
Draymond Green committed to play for the team and until Sunday was the only player with Olympic experience who had committed for 2021. Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker had all reportedly committed to playing.
The men's national team is seeking its fourth consecutive gold medal at an Olympics.
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