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Kawhi Leonard out of Olympics as Derrick White replaces him on Team USA


Kawhi Leonard will not be making his Olympic debut this summer after all.

The Los Angeles Clippers star is bowing out of the Paris Games and will be replaced on Team USA by Boston Celtics guard Derrick White, USA Basketball announced Wednesday.

“I want to thank Kawhi for his commitment to the USA Men’s National Team,” U.S. managing director Grant Hill said in a statement. “He earned the opportunity to represent the United States, but USA Basketball and Clippers leadership felt it’s important to allow Kawhi to prepare for the NBA season.”

The announcement did not go into specifics, but Leonard missed the Clippers’ final eight regular-season games and four of their six postseason games — including the final three — with right knee inflammation.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is an assistant on the Team USA staff, which is led by head coach Steve Kerr.

Leonard, who turned 33 last month, is a two-time NBA Finals MVP and a six-time All-Star. The forward has been part of USA Basketball since 2012 but is yet to compete in an Olympics.

Leonard averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season in 68 appearances, which marked his most since 2016-17.

White, who just earned his second consecutive selection on the NBA’s All-Defensive second team, averaged a career-high 15.2 points per game and made 39.6% of his 3-point attempts in the regular season. He was a key piece in the Celtics’ championship run and recently signed a four-year, $125.9 million extension.

“I am happy to announce that Derrick will compete at his first Olympic Games on the heels of a championship season in Boston,” Hill said. “We look forward to him joining the team in the coming days as we continue preparations for Paris.”

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 17: Derrick White #9 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after a three point basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the fourth quarter of Game Five of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 17, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Derrick White, pictured in Game 5 of the NBA Final last month, has been added to the USA Basketball roster for the Paris Olympics. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

White, 30, joins Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday on the U.S. men’s basketball team as it seeks its fifth consecutive gold medal and its 17th in 20 appearances.

Jaylen Brown, who won Finals MVP for the Celtics, remains off of the Olympic roster despite being part of USA Basketball’s pool of eligible players. Around the time of Wednesday’s announcement, Brown shared a post on X featuring three emojis with magnifying glasses.

This year’s U.S. roster features considerable star power, with LeBron James primed for his first Olympic appearance since 2012; Kevin Durant back for a fourth consecutive trip; and Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton all set for their Olympic debuts.

Devin Booker and Bam Adebayo, who, with Durant, Tatum and Holiday, helped lead the U.S. to the 2020 gold, are also back, while ​​Anthony Davis is set to compete for the first time since 2012.

The Olympics are set to begin July 26 and run through Aug. 11.

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