Kawhi Leonard out for Team USA in Olympics, Derrick White could replace: Sources

LAS VEGAS  — Group USA star ahead Kawhi Leonard, who has been battling power knee soreness and irritation for months, won’t play for the U.S. within the Paris Olympics and shall be changed, USA Basketball introduced Wednesday.

Boston Celtics’ Derrick White is taken into account a robust substitute candidate, crew sources mentioned.

White, 30, a 6-foot-4 guard who can defend taller gamers, is coming off an NBA championship run with the Celtics and was on the 2019 U.S. World Cup crew.

Leonard, 33, attended Group USA’s coaching camp and was on the courtroom for each apply and scrimmage. He insisted his ailing left knee was feeling higher, and coaches mentioned he was performing effectively whereas “ramping up” to full velocity for the Olympics.

However Leonard and the U.S. crew determined his knee, which induced him to overlook the final eight video games of the common season and a lot of the LA Clippers’ first-round playoff sequence towards the Dallas Mavericks, wouldn’t enable him to play on the velocity crucial in what’s anticipated to be a hard-fought Olympic event.

In 2021, Kevin Love got here to coaching camp as a member of Group USA however eliminated himself due to a lingering damage that prevented him from reaching acceptable conditioning and efficiency ranges.

The Clippers and the NBA have been additionally involved Leonard may do additional injury to his knee this summer time and put his standing for the beginning of the common season in jeopardy, when the Clippers open their $2 billion Intuit Dome Enviornment, the sources mentioned. However groups will not be permitted to stop gamers from competing for his or her international locations within the Olympics, so this was in the end a choice made by Leonard and Group USA.

Leonard offers with power irritation from the a number of surgical procedures he’s had. He performed in simply two playoff video games in 2023 because of a torn meniscus, and missed your complete 2021-22 season after tearing his ACL through the 2021 playoffs.

White, in the meantime, could be the one participant on Group USA to by no means have been an All-Star. He averaged a profession excessive 15.2 factors and shot almost 40 p.c from 3 for the Celtics, and was named a second-team All-Protection participant.

Group USA can also be lacking star ahead Kevin Durant due to a calf injury, however Durant may return to the courtroom in Abu Dhabi subsequent week.

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(Picture: Brian Babineau / NBAE through Getty Photographs)

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