Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant has left Team USA and will not play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward told team officials on Thursday that he was "physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities," according to a news release from the team.
"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," USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
"Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) and I fully support Kevin. His well being is the most important thing to us and we support him taking the time to get ready for next season. He's been part of the national team program for eight years and a big part of the success we have achieved, and we look forward to him being part of our success in the future as well."
Durant won a gold medal with the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics and was named MVP of the 2010 FIBA world championships, when the Americans won gold.
He said in a statement issued by the team that his decision was "extremely difficult" and that he owes it to his teammates to be "totally invested in the experience."
"After going through training camp ... I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint," Durant said. "I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for (the team) and look forward to future opportunities with them."
Durant's decision comes less than a week after Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered a gruesome leg injury during a team scrimmage on Friday night in Las Vegas when he broke two bones in his lower leg, raising questions about the risks of NBA stars playing in international competitions.
John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Millsap were cut from Team USA on Tuesday. Durant's exit leaves 15 players competing for 12 spots.
The team is scheduled to resume training on Aug. 14 in Chicago, a little over two weeks before the World Cup begins on Aug. 30.