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Kawhi Leonard no longer on USA men’s basketball Olympic team, replaced by Derrick White

<i>Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Kawhi Leonard reacts during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 27 in Philadelphia.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Kawhi Leonard reacts during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 27 in Philadelphia.

By Jill Martin and Kyle Feldscher, CNN

(CNN) — USA Basketball announced Wednesday that Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard no longer will be on the men’s basketball Olympic roster.

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

Leonard was one of many American basketball stars expected to take the court during the Paris Olympics but has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. Leonard has had his playing time limited in recent seasons – typically termed “load management” – in order to make sure he stayed healthy for the most important parts of the season.

He had been plagued by a knee injury late in the 2023-24 season, missing multiple games in the Clippers’ playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.

USA Basketball announced Boston Celtics point guard Derrick White would be replacing Leonard on the team.

The 33-year-old Leonard is coming off his 12th season in the NBA. He previous played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors. He’s a two-time NBA champion, having won in 2014 with San Antonio and in 2019 with Toronto.

The news came shortly after the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee had announced Leonard as part of the 592-member US Olympic Team that will represent the USA in Paris. It would have been Leonard’s first Olympic games after being named a finalist for the 2016 and 2020 teams.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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