Kawhi Leonard Cut from US Olympic Basketball Team; Name Change for SDSU Freshman – ​​San Diego Union-Tribune

Less than 24 hours after saying his ailing right knee “has been good so far” and that he expected to be in action for Team USA’s exhibition game against Canada on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Kawhi Leonard will not be traveling to Paris for the Summer Olympics.

USA Basketball announced Wednesday morning that the former San Diego State player has been replaced on the 12-man roster by Boston Celtics guard Derrick White.

“Kawhi has been preparing for the Olympics for the past few weeks and has had some good workouts in Las Vegas,” USA Basketball said in a statement from its Olympic training camp at UNLV. “He felt ready to compete. However, he respects that USA Basketball and the Clippers have decided it is in his best interest to spend the remainder of the summer preparing for the upcoming season instead of competing in the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Leonard, 33, missed the final eight games of the NBA regular season and most of the Clippers’ first-round series against Dallas with what was described as chronic inflammation from multiple surgeries on his right knee. He has had two months off since the Clippers were shut down, but the knee apparently hasn’t responded as he had hoped.

And then there’s this: The Clippers just lost Paul George to free agency and are opening the $2 billion Intuit Dome in Inglewood. Owner Steve Ballmer was no doubt not eager to further injure the face of the franchise with a condensed Olympic tournament of six games in 14 days.

Leonard missed the end of the 2021 playoffs after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, then the entire 2021-22 season, then appeared in just two playoff games in 2023 after tearing a meniscus in the same knee. He played in 68 regular-season games last season, his most since 2016-17, and closed out the playoff series against the Mavericks midway through.

Yet a day earlier he spoke optimistically about the lifelong “dream” of adding the interlocking rings to his legacy.

“Just competing with these guys,” Leonard told the media Tuesday about what he was most looking forward to. “Seeing the city of Paris, watching other Olympics (events) and cheering for the U.S.”

Asked about his knee, he said: “Yeah, I think I’ll be in action tomorrow (against Canada). So far everything has gone well. It’s been in a neutral state, and hopefully it stays that way.”

As for the advice he would give other athletes about coming back from knee surgery, he said, “Just stay true to yourself, don’t skip days of your rehab and stay patient. That’s all you can do. Whatever happens, happens.”

Summer competition

The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League begins Friday, but former Aztec Keshad Johnson got a head start with the Miami Heat in the California Classic in San Francisco and Sacramento. In his first two games, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and made 3 of 8 3s,

Nathan Mensah, Johnson’s teammate in the 2023 run to the national championship game, also played in the California Classic for the San Antonio Spurs after spending most of his rookie season with the Charlotte Hornets. In three games, the 6-10 post averaged 6.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

Jaedon LeDee plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who open summer play Friday in Las Vegas along with the other 29 NBA franchises. The Spurs and Heat open Saturday.

New house

Keith Dinwiddie is on the move again. The former SDSU guard transferred to Weber State after two seasons as an Aztec, then to Division II St. Mary’s of San Antonio last season.

Now he heads to Division II Chico State.

Dinwiddie was the Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year out of Fairfax High School but never found his feet at SDSU, appearing in 23 games (and starting once) in two seasons with a high of 13 points against NAIA Saint Katherine. He started 11 games in an injury-plagued year at Weber State of the Big Sky Conference, then averaged 10 points (with a high of 23) while shooting 37.9 percent from 3 in 21 starts for a 12-16 St. Mary’s team.

Remarkable

Incoming freshman 7-footer David Mayak will drop his American name and continue with his South Sudanese first name ThokborThe correct pronunciation is Thock-bore May-zhok. … Walk-on guard Ryan Black entered the transfer portal last spring, but has opted to return to SDSU along with other walk-ons for 2024-25 Cam Lawin And Desai Lopez. Brown grad transfer Kimo Ferrari is also technically a walk-on. … Former Aztecs teammates Matt Bradley and Adam Seiko will host a one-day youth skills camp on July 25 at the OC Hoop Legends facility in Lake Forest. … Mountain West Basketball Media Day, where the preseason poll will be released, is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Las Vegas.

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