Team USA Announces Major Roster Changes

Kawhi Leonard, Team USA, NBA News
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sport

With NBA Free Agency slowing down, the focus in the basketball world has turned to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Team USA is once again considered one of the favorites to take home gold with a roster loaded with NBA talent.

However, with just about two weeks until the Olympics get started, Team USA has made a major change to its roster. Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will no longer be participating.

It was announced that Leonard is withdrawing from Team USA. In a statement released, it is hinted that officials from the Clippers and Team USA influenced the All-NBA star’s decision after watching training camp over the last few days.

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

Clippers head coach Ty Lue is on the Team USA coaching staff, led by Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. He and Clippers reps have been keeping a close eye on Leonard, who wasn’t sure he would even be able to play until a few weeks ago.

“I took the time, and I was able to turn around over the last two weeks,” Leonard said Sunday. “So I’m out here now and, yeah, I’m having a good time.”

Leonard has been rehabbing his knee over the last two months after playing in only two postseason games in April. NBA teams cannot hold players under contract out of playing for their national team, but it more often than not ends up being a mutual decision.

With Leonard out, Team USA needs a replacement. Taking his spot on the team will be Boston Celtics guard Derrick White.

White was an integral part of the Celtics winning the 2024 NBA Championship. He is the second Boston player on the team, as Jayson Tatum is also participating. 

His selection is going to be even more motivation for his teammate, Jaylen Brown. For essentially the second time, he has been passed over for a spot on Team USA and shared his puzzlement about it on X.

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