Monday, May 20, 2024

Kawhi Leonard lands final Olympics roster spot — report

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In a sign that Kawhi Leonard’s right knee inflammation continues to improve, the Los Angeles Clippers’ All-Star forward was named to the final spot on the USA Basketball roster for the upcoming Paris Olympics, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

When reports of the USA roster surfaced Monday, one spot was still unnamed and was expected to stay open through the team’s training camp.

Leonard’s inclusion comes on the same day he was a partial participant in Clippers practice Tuesday in advance of the team’s opener in the first round of the playoffs Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Leonard, 32, averaged 23.7 points with 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 68 games (all starts) this season. But he missed the final eight games of the regular season, leaving the team’s four-game road trip that began late last month in order to return to Los Angeles for treatment.

His availability for the playoff opener has yet to be determined by head coach Tyronn Lue.

Leonard has dealt with knee issues in recent seasons, playing in 52 games during the 2020-21 season, missing all of the 2021-22 campaign because of an ACL injury, then playing 52 games (50 starts) in 2022-23. His 68 games this season were his most since playing 74 for the San Antonio Spurs in 2016-17.

The 12-player roster is a star-studded cast and will include Stephen Curry, who is making his first appearance in the Olympics.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns also were featured on the roster. James is slated to make his first Olympics appearance since 2012 and the fourth of his career.

The other team members named were Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday of the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid of the Philadephia 76ers, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat and Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers, according to reports.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr serves as Team USA head coach and will be assisted by Lue, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Gonzaga coach Mark Few. — Field Level Media/Reuters

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