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Derrick White replacing Kawhi Leonard on Team USA in Paris Olympics

The Boston Celtics will have even more representation on the world’s stage this summer.

Celtics guard Derrick White will fill Kawhi Leonard’s spot on the roster after the oft-injured six-time All-Star withdrew from the team Wednesday, USA Basketball announced.

White, fresh off a championship run with the Celtics, adds defensive versatility to Team USA. The 6′4″ combo guard is able to slide up or down in defensive lineups while also providing connective tissue on offense.

White also represented USA during the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

With White joining teammates Jayston Tatum and Jrue Holiday on the Olympic roster, 25% of Team USA is made up of Boston Celtics.

Leonard, 33, participated in every one of Team USA’s practices in Las Vegas and had indicated his lingering left knee injury was feeling better. But the Clippers and the NBA were concerned that Leonard could further damage the knee and jeopardize his availability to start next season, according to NBA Insider Shams Charania.

Leonard has dealt with chronic inflammation from the multiple surgeries he’s had, played in just two playoff games in 2023 due to a torn meniscus and missed the entire 2021-22 season after tearing his ACL during the 2021 playoffs.

“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 interests to spend the remainder of the summer preparing for the upcoming season rather than participating in the Olympic Games in Paris,” USA Basketball said in a statement.

With Leonard’s withdrawal and Kevin Durant recovering from injury, USA Basketball only has 10 players available for Wednesday’s night scrimmage against Canada.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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