LaVine Cleared, USA Basketball Awaits 3 NBA Finals Players

Jul 21, 2021, 11:22 AM | Updated: 11:26 am
Zach LaVine of Team USA Basketball (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)...
Zach LaVine of Team USA Basketball (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Associated Press – USA Basketball expects to have its full 12-man roster available for Sunday’s matchup against France, the first game for both teams in the Tokyo Olympics.

Zach LaVine has been cleared to exit the health and safety protocols that stemmed from a coronavirus testing-related issue, will fly to Japan and rejoin the team on Thursday. And the plan is that the three players from the NBA Finals — Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday from the newly crowned champion Milwaukee Bucks and Devin Booker from the Phoenix Suns — will be in place on Saturday.

“I’ve got to celebrate this and then get on a flight and represent my country,” Holiday said in Milwaukee, where the Bucks clinched the title.

The rest of the American roster worked out in Japan for the first time on Wednesday, a day after its flight from Las Vegas. The likelihood remains that the team — which has already seen JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson added in place of Kevin Love and Bradley Beal — will have just one full practice together before its games start to count.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do when they get here the day before,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said Wednesday from Tokyo. “Luckily, it’s basketball. Try to keep it simple and take care of what we think we can take care of. … The good thing is, they’ll be in shape. I don’t know how the plane’s going to affect them, because it’s not an easy flight.”

The Americans arrived in Tokyo with just eight players from the 12-man roster because of LaVine’s situation and the NBA Finals.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Olympic veteran Kevin Durant said. “Adding three guys, two champions, newly crowned champions and another guy who’s been on that stage and knows what it’s all about to win big games and play big games … it’s going to help.”

Durant said the Olympic team watched Game 6 of the NBA Finals together — without any rooting interest. Durant and the Brooklyn Nets lost a Game 7 at home to Milwaukee in the second round, an overtime thriller in which Durant played every second. He nearly won the game for Brooklyn at the end of regulation; his long jumper that tied the game was nearly a 3-pointer that would have served as a game-winner, but his toe was on the line.

He tipped his cap to the Bucks after watching them celebrate their title.

“Congrats to the Bucks, an amazing team who fought through a lot the last few years to get to this point,” Durant said. “Nothing but respect for them.”

Follow all of our exclusive KSL Sports Olympic Coverage here. 

KSL Olympics

A 2002 Winter Olympic sign sits outside Rice Eccles Stadium before the start of an college football...
EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer

Winter Olympics Focus On Climate Change, Rotating Hosts

To hear the world's Olympic leaders tell it, the bidding for future Winter Games has been jumbled by internal disputes.
2 months ago
Eddie Pells, AP

Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Bid More Likely For 2034

Recent meetings with the IOC have led U.S. officials to believe all signs point toward Salt Lake City bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Larry Lage, AP

Winter Olympics May Not Include Nordic Combined For 1st Time

The IOC is due to make a decision later this month about whether to allow women to compete in Nordic combined at the 2026 Games.
8 months ago
Stephen Wade, AP

Chinese Olympian Eileen Gu Working For Salt Lake Games Bid

Eileen Gu, who won two gold medals for China at the Beijing Olympics, has signed on to work for Salt Lake City's bid for the Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold - Norway...
Associated Press

Russian Olympic Body Challenges Ban From Winter Sports Event

The Russian Olympic Committee has made an urgent appeal to overturn a ban on its athletes competing at a European winter sports festival in Finland.
11 months ago
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

2008, 2022 Olympic Games In Beijing See Many Differences

KSL's Alex Cabrero was one of the few NBC affiliate reporters who traveled to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics. He was also there for KSL, reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics, and says the lasting legacy of 2022 will be very different.
12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
LaVine Cleared, USA Basketball Awaits 3 NBA Finals Players