Kawhi Leonard Pulls out of Team USA Ahead of 2024 Summer Olympic Games

USA Basketball revealed that Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers determined it was in Kawhi's "best interest" to withdraw from the Olympics.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Jul. 11 2024, Published 9:40 a.m. ET

Kawhi Leonard during a Clippers game.
Source: Getty Images

We're just weeks away from the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, yet Team USA has already faced a massive setback. On July 10, USA Basketball announced that Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will no longer be suiting up for the team.

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Alright, what's the scoop? Why did Kawhi Leonard leave Team USA? Here's everything we know so far. And hey, stay tuned to meet his replacement!

Kawhi Leonard during Team USA practice ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Kawhi Leonard leave Team USA?

In a statement issued on July 10, USA Basketball revealed, "Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas. 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," the organization said.

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NBA insider Marc J. Spears reported that Kawhi's team reached out to USA Basketball on July 8, citing "concern," potentially influencing his decision to withdraw from the Olympics. Also, the Los Angeles Times mentioned that there "was concern about Leonard's knee," which had recently sidelined him during the Clippers' first-round playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

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Who will replace Kawhi Leonard on Team USA?

Just over an hour after announcing Kawhi Leonard's withdrawal, USA Basketball unveiled that Boston Celtics standout Derrick White will take his place on the roster.

White, fresh off his first NBA championship win and a newly inked four-year, $126 million contract extension, represented Team USA at the 2019 World Cup.

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White on the court at TD Garden on May 23, 2024, in Boston.
Source: Getty Images
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"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 stated. "We look forward to him joining the team in the coming days as we continue preparations for Paris."

Grant continued, "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's important to allow Kawhi to prepare for the NBA season."

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