Clippers, Team USA Grew Concerned After Kawhi Leonard’s Inconsistency At Practice

The Los Angeles Clippers and Team USA grew concerned after watching Kawhi Leonard work out with his fellow Americans at training camp this week, leading to Leonard leaving the team ahead of the Paris Olympics, per Broderick Turner of the LA Times.Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, NBA, Team USA

Leonard missed 12 of the Clippers’ final 14 games with right knee inflammation. That same issue appears to be what has sidelined him today. He’ll be replaced by Boston Celtics guard Derrick White on the Team USA roster.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is an assistant with Team USA.

“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 officials 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.”

USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill added the decision was based on wanting Leonard to be ready for the 2024-25 season.

“I am happy to announce that Derrick will compete at his first Olympic Games on the heels of a championship season in Boston,” Hill said. “We look forward to him joining the team in the coming days as we continue preparations for Paris.

“I want to thank Kawhi 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 was important to allow Kawhi to prepare for the NBA season.”

Leonard’s knee reportedly showed improvement over the past two weeks, but clearly, not enough for him to risk it at the Olympics.

Team USA plays its first exhibition game Wednesday night, vs. Team Canada.

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