Despite his extended playoff run with the Suns, Devin Booker isn’t having any second thoughts about his Olympic commitment, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Booker told reporters today that even if the NBA Finals go to a seventh game, which would be played July 22, he plans to be in Japan for Team USA’s opener against France three days later.
“Next (plane) smoking. I’ll be there,” he said. “I’ll be there. But obviously not my main focus right now. I’ve reached out to Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich), I reached out to (Jerry) Colangelo just recently and then I told them I saw all the guys reported to Vegas, and any other place I would rather be is the Finals, but I would love to be there with the guys and I’ll be there soon.”
Booker may miss all of Team USA’s 13-day training camp, which began today at UNLV. The Americans, who are also without Bucks guards Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, will play exhibition games against Nigeria, Australia, Argentina and Spain before heading to Tokyo.
“Very important. Life goal of mine,” Booker said. “I’ve always said, I think it’s the most prestigious event that basketball can find. So to be a part of representing your country I think brings you to another stratosphere. Just thinking of the guys that have come before us and represented our country, and I don’t think there’s anything better than winning a gold medal.”
There’s more Olympics news to pass along:
- Wearing No. 10 has been a tradition for Celtics forward Jayson Tatum in international basketball and it has taken on added significance following Kobe Bryant‘s death last year, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Bryant wore the number while winning gold medals in 2008 and 2012, and Tatum recognizes the importance behind it. “With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value,” he said. “It’s not something I take lightly.”
- Many were pleasantly surprised that Nets star Kevin Durant opted to play in the Olympics, and Popovich was especially delighted, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Popovich joked that he would have begged and cried to convince Durant to join the team, then said it shows the forward’s commitment to the game. Durant won gold medals in 2012 and 2016 and is 39-0 in FIBA competition.
- Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards of the U.S. Select Team sprained his ankle today in a scrimmage with Team USA, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The injury, which happened when Edwards stepped on Draymond Green‘s foot, isn’t viewed as serious, but Edwards will be sidelined for the rest of camp.