Derrick White Takes Team USA Roster Spot for Olympics

Derrick White and the Boston Celtics banish the Heat and the Cavs in Gm. 1 of their second-round series behind devastating 3-point shooting.

Team USA shook up its roster with a briefly open Team USA roster spot ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.  Los Angeles Clippers small forward Kawhi Leonard will not play in the Olympics. As a result, Boston Celtics point and shooting guard Derrick White will replace Leonard in Paris.

USA Basketball released a statement on Wednesday that Leonard’s decision was influenced by the Clippers and Team USA officials after observing training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada, over the past three days. Paris would’ve been the first Olympic trip for Leonard, who missed 12 of the Clippers’ final 14 games of the 2023-24 NBA season due to right knee inflammation.

Clippers head coach Ty Lue is on Team USA’s coaching staff. Clippers representatives, including team president Lawrence Frank, attended practices at UNLV this week.

Here’s more about White’s Team USA roster spot for the Olympics.

Derrick White to Compete in his First Olympics

Derrick White and the Boston Celtics banish the Heat and the Cavs in Gm. 1 of their second-round series behind devastating 3-point shooting.

Derrick White, also known as The Buffalo, is thriving at 30 years old. White recently signed a four-year extension worth $126 million and played on Team USA at the 2019 World Cup. He averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists for the 2024 NBA champion Boston Celtics in 2023-24.

USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill told ESPN, “I am happy to announce that Derrick [White] will compete at his first Olympic Games on the heels of a championship season in Boston … We look forward to him joining the team in the coming days as we continue preparations for Paris.”

Hill added, “I want to thank Kawhi [Leonard] 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 [Leonard] to prepare for the NBA season.”

Kawhi Leonard arguably made the right choice to withdraw from the Olympics, as he has been rehabbing his knee over the past two months and was unsure whether he’d be able to play until two weeks ago, even when he showed improvement. 

White is expected to join Team USA this weekend in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — for the first of two international stops for more games and practices before arriving in Paris, France, for the Olympics.

Jalen Brown’s Reaction to Team USA Roster Spot News

Jaylen Brown Finals MVP Banner 18

Kawhi Leonard is out, and Derrick White is in. 

Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown is coming off a legacy-defining season as a 2024 NBA champion and a 2024 NBA Finals MVP. Brown, 27, is an eight-year NBA veteran who helped lead the Boston Celtics to their first NBA championship since 2008. Brown’s effort squashed doubts about his five-year, $304 million contract extension that made him the highest-paid player in NBA history at the time.

However, Brown’s effort didn’t help him land a spot on the Team USA roster for the Olympics. Brown missed the first cut for the final roster in Las Vegas for training camp this week. He also missed the second chance after Kawhi Leonard withdrew and opened up a roster spot.
Brown responded to the news with a cryptic tweet.

Brown’s tweet appears to be a sign of disappointment, which is understandable.

Derrick White Receives Team USA Roster Spot for This Reason

Derrick White received a Team USA roster spot for a reason. White’s ability to stifle an opponent’s best perimeter player, challenge shots at the rim, and knock down three-pointers on the other side of the court. He’s also an arguably outstanding two-way player. 

Chances are, White’s arguably valuable skill set played a major role in Boston’s journey to the NBA Finals this past season and Team USA’s prioritization of him this summer. Plus Team USA tends to lean towards building a team to compete with the world’s top teams instead of simplifying selecting the top 12 players at the moment.

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