Zach LaVine has entered health and safety protocols and was unable to travel with the USA Basketball Men's National Team to Tokyo on Monday, USA Basketball announced.
A release called the move one made "out of an abundance of caution" and said that the team "hopes that Zach will be able to join the team in Tokyo later this week." Such language suggests LaVine's situation is tied to contact tracing, particularly since the Chicago Bulls' All-Star guard disclosed that he tested positive for COVID-19 after he missed 11 games down the stretch of the regular season. At that time, sources indicated LaVine was one shot into a two-shot vaccination, with his second shot scheduled for one day after he tested positive.
Team USA already has experienced its share of COVID-related issues. USA Basketball officials announced that Wizards' All-Star guard Bradley Beal wouldn't travel to Tokyo and would need to be replaced on the roster after landing in the health and safety protocols. Pistons' All-Star forward Jerami Grant landed in the same protocols but played Sunday when the U.S. men's team wrapped its pre-Olympics exhibition slate with an 83-76 win over Spain.
Tellingly, USA Basketball officials used the same "out of abundance of caution" language that it used for LaVine in its statement about Grant initially entering the health and safety protocols. Grant spent four days in the protocol before being cleared.
A source said LaVine planned to fly to Tokyo later this week if he follow Grant's path and is cleared from the health and safety protocols.
LaVine played 22 minutes in Sunday's contest, notching 13 points, two assists and two rebounds. Over the team's four exhibition games, LaVine averaged 10.7 points and logged two starts.
The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23, with the men's team's first game scheduled for July 25 against France.