OAKLAND — Stephen Curry will not play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and he may not be the only Warriors star to opt out.
According to multiple sources, Curry has already told USA Basketball he will not be playing for a gold medal. He will instead let his right knee heal.
This is good news for the Warriors, who usually like their players in these high-profile opportunities because it helps the overall brand. It’s a smart move by Curry, who is piling on the mileage now that the Warriors are champions.
At 28, he should still be a top player when the 2020 Olympics roll around. He also has one more year to get through before signing his maximum contract. And with the Warriors two wins away from a second consecutive championship, a fresh Curry would be optimal next season.
Andre Iguodala could opt out as well due to concerns from the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil. Hs hasn’t told USA Basketball he is out and still wants to play. But he is keenly watching the developments.
Iguodala won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. Curry won a gold medal from the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. But neither Curry nor Klay Thompson has won an Olympic gold medal, which is on their basketball bucket list.
According to sources, players have been advised to not bring their families to Brazil and to sleep in malaria nets to avoid being affected. That raised red flags among some players.
Pau Gasol has already publicly expressed his concerns may keep him from playing for Spain. One source connected with NBA players said LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are also considering pulling out.
A source close to Draymond Green, also in the pool of players from which the 12-man roster will be selected, will not be deterred by Zika fears. If he is invited to play, he will play.
Several health organizations are calling for the games to be moved for health concerns, as the virus — most commonly contracted by mosquito bites — has been known to cause neurological issues in adults and birth defects. A gathering of athletes from all over the world in Brazil, it is believed, could help spread Zika when those athletes return home.
The World Health Organization, however, concluded canceling the Games wouldn’t “significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus” as Brazil is just one of many countries dealing with it. WHO did offer preventative measures, including wearing insect repellent and clothes that cover as much of their skin as possible, abstain from sex during stay and for at least four weeks after their return and stay in air-conditioned rooms.
While Curry, too, is concerned about Zika, his knee is the reason he is out.
He sprained his right MCL in Game 4 of the first round series against Houston. He returned for Game 4 in the next round and has played every game since, but his knee is not fully recovered and will need rest to heal.
Curry informed Team USA right before he returned to playoff action that he was opting out of this summer’s competition, which begins with a showcase in Las Vegass on July 22.
Curry sprained his right ankle in Game 1 of the first round and bruised his right elbow in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. He missed six full games in the first two rounds plus two second halves after sustaining injuries.