NBA Finals trio finally reach Tokyo Olympics

The US men’s basketball team is finally together

Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jure Holiday – a trio of American Olympians who were in the NBA Finals and therefore not around their Tokyo Games teammates – arrived in Japan on Saturday night, 24 hours before the Americans’ scheduled Olympic opener. France.

How much they play on Sunday is not clear. US coach Greg Popovich has said he will assess his role based on how he was feeling after the flights.

“You’re talking about three true pros, three extremely, extremely competitive guys who just won’t be on their way here,” US forward Drummond Green said on Saturday. “They’ve all just finished competing in the NBA Finals, just finished the NBA season. … I have a lot of respect for those guys for not only doing it but for actually having their say. Is.”

Middleton and Holiday initially flew from Milwaukee to Seattle on Friday evening, a day after the Bucks’ championship parade to celebrate topping Phoenix in six games for the NBA title. Booker flew from Phoenix to Seattle, arriving there Friday night minutes after the Bucks had arrived.

Booker boarded the plane with Middleton and Holiday, and it took them about nine hours to get from Seattle to Tokyo. They landed shortly before 11 p.m. local time on Saturday, or about 22 hours before the start of the US-France game.

“I have a lot of respect for those people to see it, to see their commitment,” Green said. “And it’s up to us to make sure we do our part and make sure they’re rewarded with what they eventually came here for, that helps us compete and win gold medals.” Is for.”

It has been an unprecedented period of preparation for the American men in their quest to win their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. The 12-player squad was formally unveiled on June 28; Since then, Bradley Beal (virus related) and Kevin Love (injury related) have been dropped from the roster, replaced by Keldon Johnson and Javelle McGee.

Three NBA Finals players have left, and US wing Zack LaVine missed the team’s flight to Tokyo on Monday because of health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus. He was cleared to fly separately after several negative test results and joined the team in time for the opening ceremony and Saturday’s practice.

Like Green, LaVine said he believes the NBA Finals trio’s decision to come to Tokyo just a few days after the series and the lengthy period following only shows their level of commitment.

“I think they’ll be ready to go, and we’ll see what happens,” Lavin said. “But as far as the team is concerned, I think we have to be ready for everything. If they are not ready to go, then we have to go there and perform stable.”

The Americas weren’t the only team to have a last-second roster maneuver. Spain, which dropped Minnesota Timberwolves’ Juancho Hernangomez from the Olympics earlier this month due to a dislocated shoulder – was only then put on the Tokyo roster because it felt he was recovering well ahead of schedule – Announces that he is not playing after all.

Spain’s Basketball Federation president Jorge Garbajosa said the Timberwolves would not clear Hernangómez and force the defending World Cup champions to take his place. Spain said Xabi López-Arostegui was moving to Tokyo to take a roster spot.


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