Kawhi Leonard is withdrawing from Team USA for the Paris Olympics

Kawhi Leonard Team USA pic
Kawhi Leonard Team USA pic

The 12-man roster that Team USA has assembled for the Paris Olympics is an all-star cast of players. That includes some of the league’s best talent like Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. At 10:30 p.m. tonight, Team USA has their first exhibition match against Canada ahead of the Olympics. 

NBA insider Shams Charania reported today that Kawhi Leonard is withdrawing from Team USA for the Paris Olympics. Leonard had been working to get ready for the Olympics but his knee was giving him problems. Charania noted that the six-time all-star has been suffering from chronic knee soreness and inflation for months. He just wasn’t ready to play this summer and it’s likely the best for for Team USA and himself.

After careful consideration, Kawhi Leonard will not be playing for Team USA in the Paris Olympics due to injury

Over the last seven years of Kawhi Leonard’s career, the talented SF has had to deal with several nagging injuries. In his final season with the Spurs in 2017-28, Leonard played in just nine games. He missed the first 27 games of the season with a right quadriceps injury. Team doctors cleared him to play but Leonard did not feel ready. For the last five seasons, Leonard has been with the LA Clippers. He’s played in over 60+ games just one time for LA.

Additionally, he missed the entire 2021-22 season due to an ACL injury. It’s been an ongoing struggle for the two-time NBA champion to stay healthy in the later stage of his career. Leonard is only 33 but the injuries have taken a toll on him. The former first-round pick had been working hard this offseason to strengthen his knee. Reports say that his surgically prepared right knee kept him out of the last three games of the Clippers’ postseason. It was only until about two weeks ago that his knee finally felt in a “neutral state.” While Leonard wanted to represent his country, the Clippers, and Team USA felt it was in his best interest to not play.

Now that Leonard is no longer part of the 12-man roster, Team USA needs to find a replacement. According to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, Boston’s Derrick White will be replacing Kawhi Leonard for Team USA this summer. White is coming off an NBA championship with the Celtics in 2024. Additionally, White signed a four-year, $118 million extension this offseason. He’ll have the chance to add an Olympic gold medal to his resume.

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