Love's labor lost as ninth US NBA player shuns World Cup: report

New York (AFP) –


Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has become the ninth NBA standout to say he won't try to play for the United States at the upcoming Basketball World Cup in China, The Athletic website reported Wednesday.

Love, an NBA champion with Cleveland in 2016 and a champion with US squads at the 2012 London Olympics and 2010 World Cup in Turkey, said he informed US coach Gregg Popovich of his decision on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old frontliner joins a growing list of NBA star players rejecting the US call that includes two-time scoring champion and 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden, new Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis, Portland guard Damian Lillard, Tobias Harris, DeMar DeRozan, Eric Gordon, C.J. McCollum, Bradley Beal and rookie Zion Williamson.

Players have opted out to prepare for the upcoming NBA campaign or cited personal reasons.

Among others who had said no earlier in the process were LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are among several injured players not able to take part.

The American squad, seeking a third consecutive crown after taking the past two World Cup titles in 2010 and 2014, still has a deep talent pool from which to pull a roster. They will play exhibition games in Australia next month before going to China and opening World Cup play against the Czech Republic in Shanghai on September 1.

The event final is September 15 with NBA team training camps starting soon after, pre-season games beginning October 4 and regular-season contests starting on October 22.

The US roster is expected to include guard Kyle Lowry of the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors after thumb surgery, Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker and Milwaukee forward Khris Middleton.