Kevin Durant Reportedly Expected to Play for Team USA at 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 20, 2021

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant warms up before Game 7 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday, June 19, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Kevin Durant reportedly is going to make the trip to Japan. 

According to Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Durant is "expected to commit to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics."

From one perspective, it's a bit surprising that Durant might participate in the Tokyo Games. At 32, he just made it through an injury-plagued season and a compressed schedule in which he missed 37 games. All of that after missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season with an Achilles tear.  

And Durant went hard in this year's playoffs, averaging 40.4 minutes in 12 games, largely compensating for the absences of James Harden early in the postseason and Kyrie Irving later. He played all 48 minutes in a Game 5 win, 40 minutes in Game 6 and a whopping 53 minutes in a decisive Game 7 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. 

Given that he already had two Olympic gold medals with Team USA (2012, 2016), nobody would have been shocked if Durant chose to rest and recuperate this summer for a title push with the Nets next year. 

Nick Zaccardi @nzaccardi

U.S. Olympic men's basketball career points leaders<br><br>Carmelo Anthony -- 336 (10.4 ppg) 2004-16<br>Kevin Durant -- 311 (19.4) 2012-16<br>LeBron James -- 273 (11.4) 2004-12<br>David Robinson -- 270 (11.3) 1988-96<br>Michael Jordan -- 256 (16.0) 1984, 1992<br><br>Overall Olympic record? Oscar, 1,093. https://t.co/xBvxTKwrlv

But his addition would make an already talented Team USA team downright frightening. Damian Lillard, Draymond Green, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker have also reportedly committed to playing at the Tokyo Games. 

Team USA is always the favorite at the Olympics. If Durant indeed plays, another gold medal for the Americans is basically a foregone conclusion.