Derrick White To Replace Injured Kawhi Leonard With Team USA

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White will replace injured Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard with Team USA, per NBA insider Marc J. Spears of Andscape.Derrick White, Celtics, NBA, Team USA

Team USA later made the announcement official in a press release.

Leonard missed 12 of the Clippers’ final 14 games with inflammation in his right knee. It is believed that issue is causing him not to join the rest of the Americans in Paris.

“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.”

White recently signed a four-year extension worth $126 million with the defending champion Celtics. He averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists this past season.

“I am happy to announce that Derrick will compete at his first Olympic Games on the heels of a championship season in Boston,” USA Basketball managing director Grant 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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