Kevin Durant withdrew Thursday from the U.S. national team, the biggest loss yet for a weakening American squad that will go to Spain without the leading scorer on its last two gold medal winners.
The NBA’s MVP took part in the Americans’ training camp in Las Vegas last week, but then informed team officials that he wasn’t going to continue.
“Kevin reached out to Coach K and myself this afternoon and expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities,’ USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. “He tried to give it a go at our recent Las Vegas training camp but felt coming out of camp that he was not prepared to fulfill the commitment he made to the team.”
Durant was the MVP of the world championship in 2010, leading the Americans to that title for the first time since 1994. The Oklahoma City star also started on their gold medal-winning team in the 2012 Olympics and led the Americans with 19.5 points per game.
His withdrawal comes less than a week after Indiana’s Paul George was lost to a broken right leg and follows previous withdrawals by All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Former top pick Oden arrested
INDIANAPOLIS — Police arrested former NBA No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden on battery charges early Thursday, alleging that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face during a fight at his mother’s suburban Indianapolis home.
The free-agent center, who played for the Miami Heat last season, was taken into custody at the home in Lawrence on two preliminary counts of misdemeanor battery. Oden, 26, remained in Marion County Jail as of mid-afternoon Thursday.
He was expected to appear for an initial hearing sometime Thursday at the jail’s arrestee processing center, at which time a judge may set Oden’s bond amount, said Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the county prosecutor’s office.
Prosecutors plan to request for a 72-hour continuance to give them more time to decide what, if any, formal charges Oden will face, she said.
According to a Lawrence police report, officers were called to the home at around 3:30 a.m. and found a 24-year-old woman on a sofa with a swollen, bloody face. A friend of the woman told officers that Oden had “punched her in the face.”
Pistons hire Hardaway as assistant coach
The Detroit Pistons have hired former NBA star Tim Hardaway as an assistant coach.
Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy announced the hiring Thursday. Hardaway, a five-time All-Star, averaged 17.7 points during an NBA career that lasted from 1989-2003.
Detroit also hired Malik Allen as an assistant coach, Jeff Nix as an assistant general manager and Quentin Richardson as director of player development. Jon Ishop was named director of sports medicine and Anthony Harvey was hired as strength and conditioning coach.
NBA suspends Mavs guard Felton 4 games
DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks knew they would possibly have to deal with some legal ramifications when they acquired embattled point guard Raymond Felton in a trade with the New York Knicks on June 25.
On Thursday, the Mavericks found out the results of those ramifications.
Felton was suspended four games without pay by the NBA on Thursday for pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm. Those two crimes are in violation of the law of the state of New York.
Felton, 30, must serve the suspension during the first four games of the upcoming season.
Metta World Peace to change name again
Metta World Peace wants to change his name again.
China Daily initially reported that the former NBA star’s new name will be Panda Friend, but World Peace revealed Thursday afternoon that he has another name in mind.
Tweeted World Peace: “Guys my chinese name is not ‘Panda Friend’, its ‘The Pandas Friend.’”
World Peace has announced that he has agreed to play overseas in China. He signed a one-year deal worth $1.43 million with the Sichuan Blue Whales, according to the newspaper.
By wire sources