NBA

Team USA basketball: Bradley Beal, Kevin Love replaced by JaVale McGee, Keldon Johnson on Olympic roster

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The Team USA men’s basketball team acted quickly in naming replacements for Bradley Beal and Kevin Love with the Olympics right around the corner. San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson and Denver Nuggets big man JaVale McGee have been added as replacements, the team announced Friday.

Beal was placed into health and safety protocols earlier this week, and it was determined that he would not be able to travel with the team to Tokyo, Japan for the Olympics. His quarantine also caused Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant to be placed into health and safety protocols, and also led to the cancellation of Team USA’s exhibition game against the Australian national team on Friday.

Love is opting out due to a lingering right calf injury that hampered him throughout the 2020-21 NBA season. Love pulled out as he felt he wasn’t at his peak performance to compete in the Olympics. While Johnson and McGee certainly don’t make up for the production that Beal alone would’ve provided on offense, a decision needed to be made quickly with Team USA’s first game just nine days away against France on July 25. 

Johnson has impressed the Olympic staff as he’s been training on the USA Select Team in Las Vegas alongside the team that will be heading to Tokyo, and McGee will add some much-needed depth in the frontcourt. Johnson is already in Vegas and has been training alongside the Olympic players, so bringing him onto the roster was an easy move. McGee, who spent this past season playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Nuggets will travel to Vegas on Saturday.  

McGee has had a journeyman career in the league, playing for seven different teams over his 16 years. He’s also a three-time champion between his two rings with the Golden State Warriors and winning the title with the Lakers in the Orlando bubble last season. Standing at 7-feet tall he provides great length and rim protection for the U.S. 

Although Johnson is only in his second year in the NBA, he had a breakout year with the Spurs after getting more opportunity in San Antonio. He averaged nearly 13 points, six rebounds and two assists while starting all but two games this year. There’s also the obvious Gregg Popovich connection in this decision as the Team USA coach has spoken glowingly about Johnson while coaching him in San Antonio for the past two years.



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