Derrick White replaces Kawhi Leonard on Team USA

Yesterday, Kawhi Leonard withdrew from Team USA ahead of 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Kawhi’s former teammate, Derrick White will be replacing Leonard in the roster.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and the current NBA champ had one crossover year with the San Antonio Spurs, but Leonard’s health limitations kept them from having a real opportunity to play together while both donning the Silver & Black,

Kawhi was traded to Toronto at the end of White’s rookie year. White was traded to Boston just before the trade deadline in 2022. He and the Celtics just won the franchise’s record-setting eighteenth title.

Yesterday, it was announced that Leonard was stepping down from Team USA. A statement from USA Basketball read:

“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.”

White was most probably chosen for his defensive acumen, an issue mentioned in prior Olympic games.

Leonard will be returning to the Clippers next season without Paul George, his partner in crime over the last half-decade, who left Los Angeles in free agency for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, White just secured a new 4-year/$125M contract to remain with the defending champion Celtics.

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