Saturday, July 13, 2024

Derrick White replacing Kawhi Leonard after Team USA Olympic withdrawal

Must read

With the Paris Olympics right around the corner and Team USA in Las Vegas for training camp, Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard has decided to back out of participating in this summer’s events. Leonard has been dealing with knee and leg injuries over the last year, and USA Basketball released an official statement on his decision Wednesday morning.

“Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas. He felt ready to compete,” the statement read. “However, he respects that USA Basketball and the Clippers determined it is in his best interest to spend the remainder of the summer preparing for the upcoming season rather than participating in the Olympic Games in Paris.”

As a result of Leonard opting out of the Olympics, Boston Celtics guard Derrick White is set to replace the All-Star on Team USA’s roster, according to ESPN’s Marc Spears. White was one of the 41 finalists for USA Basketball in January.

Leonard’s departure from Team USA ahead of the Paris Olympics is somewhat surprising, especially considering that he made the trip out to Las Vegas and participated in practices and scrimmages with the team. However, his continued battle with chronic knee soreness and inflammation now results in Leonard being sidelined again, a story that Clippers fans know all too well.

The superstar forward missed a total of 14 games during the 2023-24 season, the fewest games he has missed since the 2016-17 season. In total, Leonard has missed 161 games since joining the Clippers in 2019, which equates to roughly 41 percent of games.

With Leonard heading back to Los Angeles in order to prepare his body for the 2024-25 season, White will step in and replace the two-time NBA champion on Team USA’s roster. White has been known for his defensive prowess through the years, and he was a big part of the Celtics’ recent championship run during the 2023-24 NBA season. He last represented USA Basketball during the 2019 World Cup.

White now joins Team USA as Leonard’s replacement, where he will be the only player on the roster who has never made an All-Star appearance.

The departure of Leonard is somewhat concerning for Team USA, especially considering that they are beginning to play Olympic tune-up games. Not to mention, superstar forward Kevin Durant is already sidelined with a calf injury. USA Basketball head coach Steve Kerr has already said that Durant will not play in Tuesday’s exhibition game against Canada.

Once again, Team USA is the resounding favorite to win the gold medal at the Olympics. With LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and hopefully Durant leading the way, anything less than a gold medal would be a major letdown for the Americans. An official announcement from USA Basketball on who will replace Leonard, which will be White, is expected to come soon.

Latest article