Just as Team USA seemed to find its footing in its exhibition win against Argentina, it suffered a pretty major loss. Bradley Beal, one of the NBA’s best scorers, is out of the Tokyo Olympics after entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Beal is coming off of an incredible individual season, in which he averaged a career-high 31.3 points per game, finishing a hair behind Stephen Curry for the NBA’s scoring title. He was expected to be among the top offensive players for Team USA, and played well in that last exhibition, scoring 17 points in 30 minutes of play.
The team said it hoped that Beal could join his teammates in Japan. Now, that will not be the case. Beal is out of the event, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski, Team USA is attempting to find a replacement for him.
Three Olympians-to-be are still playing in the NBA Finals, and have been absent from the team: Milwaukee Bucks guards Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. In their place San Antonio Spurs wing Keldon Johnson, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, and Detroit Pistons wing Saddiq Bey have all been with the team in recent weeks. It is unclear whether one of these three would get the call up, or if Gregg Popovich and company will seek higher-profile options.
Bradley Beal will not participate in the Olympics, USA Basketball announces. Beal was placed in health and safety protocols yesterday. Team USA will replace Beal on the roster.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 15, 2021
USA Basketball is working to replace guard Bradley Beal on the team’s Olympic roster ahead of trip to Japan, sources tell ESPN. Beal entered into health and safety protocols.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 15, 2021
Beal may not be alone either. Moments ago, it was reported that Jerami Grant is also entering health and safety protocols. He has reportedly not tested positive for COVID-19 at this time.
It has been a rough start to the Olympic process for Team USA. The team has clearly not yet gelled, and lost its first two exhibitions to Nigeria and Australia. It showed growth against Argentina, though, and will look to right one of those first two losses, with a rematch against Australia on Friday. The team will play a final exhibition against Spain on Sunday, before preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
This summer’s event takes place from Friday, July 23 through Sunday, Aug. 8.