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Nets' Kevin Durant Reportedly Spoke to Team USA After Scrimmage Loss

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 27:  Kevin Durant #52 of the United States attends a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 27, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kevin Durant spoke to Team USA before its practice on Thursday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

That came after the squad suffered a 36-17 defeat to the Select Team in a scrimmage on Wednesday. According to the New York TimesMarc Stein, guard P.J. Tucker downplayed the loss, saying, "It was two quarters after we'd been playing two hours. We didn't play a game."

It still was not an encouraging result for a team that has seen a number of high-profile stars pull out of consideration for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Anthony Davis, James Harden and Damian Lillard are among the players who opted to pass on the opportunity.

Durant, meanwhile, is one of the most accomplished players in the history of USA Basketball. Along with helping Team USA win gold at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, he was also a member of the squad that claimed victory at the 2010 FIBA World Cup.

He ranks second all-time in points (311) in the program's history.

It's not clear if Durant's presence was planned ahead of time or if Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr had the two-time NBA champion speak to the team as a result of the headline-grabbing scrimmage loss. Regardless, Durant's prior experience representing the country makes him a logical choice to address the current roster ahead of a major tournament.

Team USA will attempt to win its third consecutive gold medal at the FIBA World Cup, which will take place in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15. The team will prepare for the tournament by taking on Spain on Friday at 10 p.m. ET in an exhibition in Anaheim, California.