San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he would want Kevin Durant on his U.S. Olympic team roster only if theBrooklyn Netsforward is completely ready for game action.
Popovich made his remarks Friday night after Durant's longtime business partner, Rich Kleiman, told The Washington Post earlier this week that it was "definitely a possibility" that Durant would play in the Tokyo Olympics.
Kleiman's comments, published in the Post this past Saturday, sparked discussion about Durant possibly playing for Team USA before suiting up for the Nets as he works his way back from an Achilles injury.
Popovich said that if Durant is trying to rush his rehab just to play in Tokyo, he thinks it would be better if Durant stayed home.
"My feeling on that is that I would want Kevin to be absolutely ready to go, working out, playing 5-on-5, that his organization and he both feel like it's time to play," Popovich said. "I wouldn't want to be any part of him being 60% or 70% and just starting to get in shape because of the Olympics. The Olympics are important, it's huge, but he's got a career to take care of here with the Nets. I would rather have him do that if he's not totally ready to play this summer."
Durant, who won gold medals with Team USA in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, injured his Achilles tendon during the NBA Finals in June 2019. Competition in the Tokyo Games would begin in July, meaning Durant would be returning to the court 13 months after the injury.
NBA players often return from Achilles tears within a year.
Durant was named in February as one of the 44 roster finalists for the Tokyo Games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Gregg Popovich wants Kevin Durant in Tokyo Olympics only if fully healthy