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USA Basketball’s Zach LaVine in health and safety protocols, won’t travel with team to Tokyo

The guard may be able to join the team later on in the tournament.

Argentina v United States
Zach LaVine of the USA Men’s National Team warms up before the game against the Argentina Men’s National Team on July 13, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

USA basketball continues to see hits due to COVID-19.

The latest setback for the group is Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who is entering health and safety protocols and will not travel with the team to Tokyo according to Shams Charania. The guard may still be able to join the team later in the tournament. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, this is likely to indicate LaVine is part of contact tracing rather than a positive test which he had in April when he missed 11 games.

LaVine broke out this season for the Bulls, averaging 27.4 points per game. He had to be isolated late in the season due to COVID-19, likely costing his team a chance at a play-in tournament spot. The guard is entering a contract season and was expected to be a major force for Team USA at the Olympics.

With LaVine out for the time being, USA hoops will likely lean more on Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard. The shooting guard depth on the roster became significantly thinner with LaVine joining Bradley Beal in health and safety protocols.