Monday, July 15, 2024

Kawhi Leonard, RivCo Native, Heads To Paris For Team USA: 2024

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RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — Former Martin Luther King High School standout Kawhi Leonard will not play for the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, USA Basketball announced Wednesday just hours before its exhibition opener against Canada in Las Vegas.

“Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas,” according to a USA Basketball statement. “He felt ready to compete.

“However, he respects that USA Basketball and the Clippers determined it’s 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.”

USA Basketball men’s national team managing director Grant Hill thanked Leonard “for his commitment to the USA men’s national team.”

“He earned the opportunity to represent the United States, but USA Basketball and Clippers leadership felt it’s important to allow Kawhi to prepare for the NBA season,” Hill said in a statement.

The 6-foot-7-inch forward missed 12 of the Los Angeles Clippers’ final 14 games in the 2023-24 season, including the last three, due to right knee inflammation, but was optimistic about playing Wednesday.

“Everything’s been good so far” in the Olympic team’s training camp which began Saturday, Leonard said on Tuesday. “It has been in a neutral state, and hopefully, it stays that way.”

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White was selected to replace Leonard on the roster.

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