Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Injured NBA superstar favorite to land final Team USA Olympics roster spot

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Team USA Basketball’s 2024 Olympics squad is a who’s who of NBA mega-talent.

Eleven of Steve Kerr’s 12-man Paris Olympics team has been revealed, with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Steph Curry headlining the otherworldly roster.

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LeBron and Curry will be headlining Team USA at the OlympicsCredit: Getty

Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards and Bam Adebayo make up the rest of the team, but once crucial spot remains.

Teams are allowed to take 12 players to the Olympics and, according to The Athletic, LA Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard is the leading candidate for the final spot.

However, the likes of Paul George, Paolo Banchero, Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson also under consideration.

Two-time Finals MVP Leonard is one of the best two-way players in the NBA when healthy.

But the 32-year-old has been plagued by injuries in recent years and missed the final eight games of the regular season with right knee inflammation.

The Clippers face the Dallas Mavericks in a first-round playoff series starting on 21 April and there’s been no word if Leonard will be healthy to suit up in that opening game.

Head coach Ty Lue has remained tight-lipped but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently shed some light on the Leonard issue.

Woj said: “In the past, there is always some mystery around Kawhi Leonard injuries, that sometimes they turn out to be worse than perhaps first described.

Leonard missed the last eight games of the regular season with a right knee issue

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Leonard missed the last eight games of the regular season with a right knee issueCredit: Getty
Clippers teammate Paul George (right) is also under consideration for the team

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Clippers teammate Paul George (right) is also under consideration for the teamCredit: Getty

“I’m told that is not the case here. This is right knee inflammation on the same knee that just in the past few years he had meniscus surgery on, he had ACL surgery on, and then this season he has played 68 games – the most he has played since the 2016-17 season.”

Team USA heads to Paris as the most dominant team in Olympics history, having won 16 out of 19 gold medals.

The star-studded team are looking for their fifth straight Olympic gold medal, having last failed to win the top prize in 2004 – when they took home bronze.

The supremely-talented roster will be the clear favourites heading into Paris but they face stiff competition from the rest of the world.

Team Canada could feature the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, and Dillon Brooks, while France will be led by 7ft phenom Victor Wembanyama and familiar NBA faces like Rudy Gobert and Nic Batum.

Elsewhere reigning NBA champion and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic will lead out Team Serbia.

Nobody comes close to Team USA in terms of talent though.

The NBA-loaded squad will be featured in a group alongside Serbia, South Sudan and the winner of the Puerto Rico Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Team USA will play two games in London in preparation for the 2024 Olympics.

James, Curry and Co. are set to play South Sudan at the O2 on July 20 and Germany on July 22.

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