Could Kawhi Leonard still make the list for olympic in Paris

Team USA forward Kawhi Leonard will not participate in the Paris Olympics, USA Basketball confirmed on Wednesday. Derrick White, a Boston Celtics guard, will play for Team USA in place of the Los Angeles Clippers’ star, who withdrew to prepare for the 2024-25 NBA season.

“Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas,” according to USA Basketball. “He felt prepared to compete. However, he understands that USA Basketball and the Clippers decided it was in his best interests to spend the rest of the summer preparing for the next season rather than competing in the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Leonard would have made his Summer Games debut, having missed 12 of the Clippers’ final 14 games last season due to tendinitis in his right knee. The Americans’ first game is against Serbia on July 28. Leonard, a two-time NBA champion, six-time All-Star, and seven-time All-Defensive Team pick, made 68 starts in the 2023-24 season, his highest since 2016-17. He missed the entire 2021-22 season due to an ACL injury.

Leonard, 33, has a career average of 20 points, 6.4 rebounds, three assists, and 1.7 steals in 696 games with the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, and Clippers. White, 30, competed for Team USA in the 2019 World Cup. He signed a four-year contract worth over $118 million last month. White was named to the All-Defensive Second Team for the second consecutive season in 2023-24, averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 73 starts.

He hit 40.4% from three in the playoffs, averaging 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 19 postseason starts as the Celtics won their record 18th championship. San Antonio drafted White in the first round (29th overall) in 2017 and traded him to Boston in February 2022.

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