Zach LaVine in COVID protocols, not going with US to Olympics

Bulls’ guard Zach LaVine has been placed into health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus and did not travel with his Team USA teammates to Tokyo on Monday, USA Basketball announced.

USA Basketball is hoping LaVine can join the team in Tokyo later this week, saying the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

The news marks another potential blow to Team USA, who previously placed Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Wizard guard Bradley Beal into COVID-19 protocols.

Beal won’t play for Team USA this summer, while Grant was cleared from quarantine and permitted to travel.

“I’m dying for him,” head coach Gregg Popovich said of Beal last week. “We just feel terrible.”

The news of Beal and Grant entering the health and safety protocol forced the cancellation of Team USA’s exhibition game against Australia last Friday.

Nuggets center JaVale McGee and Spurs forward Keldon Johnson replaced Beal and Cavaliers forward Kevin Love – he felt he was not healthy enough to perform at his peak – on the 12-person Team USA roster.

Popovich’s roster will soon be getting reinforcements, as Bucks stars Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton and Suns guard Devin Booker are expected to join the team in Tokyo when the NBA Finals concludes.

Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine
NBAE via Getty Images

Over the team’s four exhibition games, LaVine averaged 10.7 points in two starts. For the Bulls this year, the 26-year-old averaged 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists in an All-Star campaign.

Team USA is scheduled to begin Olympic play on July 25 against France at 8 a.m. The team will also face Iran and the Czech Republic in the preliminary round as the Americans seek their fourth straight men’s basketball gold medal. 

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