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Kawhi Leonard Withdraws from Staff USA; Derrick White Reportedly Changing NBA Star

Ethan Miller/Getty Images USA Basketball announced Wednesday that Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard has withdrawn from the 2024 Olympic team. In a statement, USA Basketball noted that while Leonard “felt ready to compete” and had some good practices with the team despite missing the Clippers’ final four playoff games last season with a knee

Kawhi Leonard Withdraws from Staff USA; Derrick White Reportedly Changing NBA Star

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 08: Kawhi Leonard #8 of the 2024 USA Basketball Men's National Team walks on the court after a practice session during the team's training camp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller/Getty Photos

USA Basketball introduced Wednesday that Los Angeles Clippers ahead Kawhi Leonard has withdrawn from the 2024 Olympic group.

In a press release, USA Basketball famous that whereas Leonard “felt able to compete” and had some good practices with the group regardless of lacking the Clippers’ ultimate 4 playoff video games final season with a knee damage, USA Basketball and the Clippers decided it was “in his finest curiosity” to withdraw.

USA Basketball @usabasketball

An replace on Kawhi Leonard from the USA Basketball Males’s Nationwide Staff. pic.twitter.com/84TjYpc90i

Andscape’s Marc J. Spears reported that Leonard’s camp reached out to USA Basketball two days in the past “expressing concern,” which can have performed a job within the determination.

In keeping with the Los Angeles OccasionsBroderick Turner, “Folks not approved to talk publicly on the matter instructed The Occasions final week that there was concern about Leonard’s knee after Grant Hill, the managing director of Staff USA; Steve Kerr, the coach of Staff USA; and Lawrence Frank, the Clippers president of basketball operations, watched him work out on the Clippers’ observe facility not too long ago.”

“I wish to thank Kawhi for his dedication to the U.S. males’s nationwide group,” USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill said. “He earned the chance to signify america, however USA Basketball and Clippers management felt it is vital to permit Kawhi to arrange for the NBA season.”

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The 33-year-old Leonard performed in 68 regular-season video games in 2023-24, marking the primary time he reached the 60-game mark because the 2018-19 marketing campaign, which was his solely yr with the Toronto Raptors.

Leonard missed all the 2021-22 season attributable to a torn ACL and returned to look in 52 contests the next season.

This previous season, Leonard reclaimed his spot as one of many NBA’s high gamers, averaging 23.7 factors, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 three-pointers made and 1.6 steals per recreation en path to his sixth profession All-Star choice.

Nonetheless, the two-time NBA Finals MVP and two-time NBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months missed 4 of the Clips’ six first-round playoff video games in opposition to the eventual Western Convention champion Dallas Mavericks attributable to knee irritation.

Something knee-related is a priority for Leonard since he has missed a big period of time throughout his profession with knee points.

Leonard signed a three-year, $149.5 million contract extension with the Clippers in January, and on condition that Paul George left L.A. for the Philadelphia 76ers in free company, the Clips can in poor health afford to have Kawhi danger additional damage.

The Clippers’ head coach, Ty Lue, is an assistant coach for Staff USA, that means he had a firsthand take a look at Leonard throughout Staff USA’s practices and scrimmages this week.

White turns into the third 2024 NBA champion on the roster alongside Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Jrue Vacation.

The 30-year-old White is coming off one of the best season of his profession, as he averaged 15.2 factors, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 three-pointers made and 1.0 steal per recreation whereas taking pictures 46.1 p.c from the sector and 39.6 p.c from past the arc.

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White has been named to the NBA All-Defensive second group in every of the previous two seasons, so he would give Staff USA one other elite perimeter defender.

Regardless of dropping a participant of Leonard’s stature, the Individuals stay heavy favorites to win a fifth straight Olympic gold medal in males’s basketball because of the presence of superstars corresponding to LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Tatum and others.

Staff USA’s first group recreation on the 2024 Summer time Olympics in Paris is scheduled for July 28 in opposition to Serbia, adopted by clashes with South Sudan and Puerto Rico on July 31 and Aug. 3, respectively.

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