Bradley Beal is the latest U.S. men’s basketball player to decline an invitation to suit up at the Rio Olympics. The Washington Wizards shooting guard released a statement Friday on Twitter.
“I could not be more grateful for the invitation to represent my country, as it is the ultimate honor, however it is with deep regret that I have declined the opportunity to participate with Team USA this summer in Rio,” Beal wrote. “I have made the decision to dedicate this summer to getting in the best physical shape of my life and feel it is imperative that I stay true to my plan so I can be at my very best supporting my coaches and teammates for the upcoming season.
“I wish Team USA nothing but great success and I hope to earn another opportunity to represent my country in the near future.”
Beal is thought to be skipping the Games because of an unclear contract situation with the Wizards. He may be receiving a five-year max contract as soon as next week, but Washington could hold off. If he were to play in the Olympics and get hurt, the Wizards could pull the offer.
Regardless, it’s another guard not going to Rio. Beal wasn’t originally thought to be among the contenders for an Olympic berth, but with guards Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, James Harden and Wizards teammate John Wall all previously taking themselves out of consideration, Beal’s name rose.
Thought to already be on the Olympic roster, which will be officially announced Monday, are perimeter players Paul George, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry. Point guard Kyrie Irving of the newly-crowned NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers is reported to still be mulling a decision on going to Rio.
It would have been Beal’s first Olympics, and first international appearance with the senior men’s national team. He previously competed on the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 team and the 2010 FIBA World U17 squad.