Nets stars Kevin Durant and James Harden are among eight players who have committed to play for the U.S. men’s national basketball team at the Tokyo Olympics in July, according to multiple news reports. The Associated Press cited a source familiar with USA Basketball who said Harden’s commitment is conditional on his recovery from a grade 2 right hamstring strain he played with during the Nets’ recent second-round playoff loss to the Bucks.
Golden State’s Draymond Green, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Miami’s Bam Adebayo also reportedly have agreed to play. Golden State’s Steph Curry reportedly declined his invitation, citing offseason commitments.
Nets general manager Sean Marks held a media conference call on Monday in which he was asked how he weighed the risk of injury to his players against their desire to play in the Olympics.
"That’s a collective decision where we’ll sit down with the player and also with the performance team and map out what it looks like," Marks said. "I think our guys have been through this enough to realize what’s best for them, what’s best for their body and what their ultimate goal is. It’s very difficult to turn down playing for your country and having the opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal . . . It will be a collective decision from all parties."
Durant has two previous gold medals and has scored 311 points in Olympic play to rank second behind Carmelo Anthony’s 336 points, a record Durant surely would surpass.
Asked specifically if he is fine with Durant playing, Marks said, "Yes, as long as several markers have been met, and that starts with us having a conversation with Kevin. Having that opportunity is like none other. Kevin knows that, if his body feels right and if he’s up for the task, what a great opportunity it would be to play alongside a lot of his close friends and have a very, very unique experience."