Zach LaVine, like many others around the U.S. Olympic Team, expressed his concern for Bradley Beal on Friday afternoon while speaking with the media.
Beal was placed on the team’s health and safety protocols list Wednesday. It was confirmed he would miss the Olympics a day later. Bam Adebayo said that he spoke with Beal who had no symptoms as of Thursday, but like everyone on Team USA has emphasized, basketball comes second right now.
“I’ve given him a couple texts, it sucks, I was reaching out to him throughout the day,” LaVine said. “It sucks, man. This year has been terrible for all of us, and for him to get it at this time, right before we leave? I know his family is here, so hopefully everybody is safe. I think that’s more important than basketball, just making sure of his safety and making sure he knows he’s getting supported by us.”
Beal was expected to be one of the key scorers for Team USA and in his absence (along with Kevin Love’s departure from the team), they have tabbed Keldon Johnson and JaVale McGee as replacements.
The fact that Beal will be out, especially so close to the Olympics, has left Team USA feeling for him having come so close to representing his country for a chance to win a gold medal.
Now, the focus will be on replacing his scoring touch in a lineup that won’t have much time to gel before the Games begin in a little more than a week.
“It’s whatever they need me to do,” LaVine said, when asked about taking on a bigger role. “If they need some more scoring, obviously everybody knows I can do that. I’ll be fine with whatever role they give me. I’m just here to try to help us bring back a gold medal and continue to learn from these guys and get better. Whatever role they put me in, I think I can excel in.”