Kawhi Leonard withdraws from Team USA for upcoming Paris Olympics


Kawhi Leonard has withdrawn from Team USA’s basketball team for the upcoming Olympics in Paris, USA Basketball announced on Wednesday.

“Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas,” said a statement from USA Basketball. “He felt ready to compete. However, he respects that USA Basketball and the Clippers determined it’s in his best interest to spend the remainder of the summer preparing for the upcoming season rather than participating in the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Leonard played 68 games during the 2023-24 NBA regular season while dealing with chronic knee soreness and inflammation. He took part in every Team USA practice and scrimmage during the build-up to the Paris Games, but Leonard and team staff felt that his knee would limit him from being 100% during the Olympic tournament.

Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 NBA season after tearing his ACL during the 2021 postseason and was limited to only two games during the 2023 playoffs due to a torn meniscus.

He said earlier this month that the Clippers were “not really” worried about him playing for Team USA. “They were positive about the situation,” Leonard said. “So, yeah, they wasn’t too worried about it.”

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 29: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers speaks to referee Marc Davis #8 after being called for a foul during a game against the Orlando Magic at Kia Center on March 29, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 29: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers speaks to referee Marc Davis #8 after being called for a foul during a game against the Orlando Magic at Kia Center on March 29, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard during a game on March 29, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Derrick White of the Boston Celtics is a strong possibility to replace Leonard on the roster. White was on the 2019 FIBA World Cup squad that finished seventh.

Team USA begins its pre-Olympic exhibition schedule Wednesday night in Las Vegas against Canada. They will then travel to the United Arab Emirates for two games against Australia and Serbia next week before wrapping up the tour in London against South Sudan and Germany.

Serbia, South Sudan and Puerto Rico will be Team USA’s opponents in the Olympic group phase, which begins July 28 in Lille, France.



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