Team USA, looking for its fifth consecutive Olympic gold in men’s basketball, selected LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday, as well as Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo, Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton. With one remaining open roster spot, the team is rumored to be pursuing Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, per Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

“Kawhi Leonard is the leading candidate for the USA vacancy with Paul George, Paolo Banchero, Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson also under consideration, sources told The Athletic.”

Leonard, a favorite to make the team of both Durant and James, is battling a knee injury and his status for the start of the playoffs with the Clippers is unknown.

The team's semifinal finish at the FIBA World Cup had many fans thinking that the world had caught up to Team USA and that the United States might be backsliding in terms of international play. So, stars picked up their phones and put their money where their mouths were. Durant, James, and Curry were the first to answer the call. Then, these other stars came in.

Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers

LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots a foul shot to take the lead with in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center
© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers are preparing for their first-round playoff series against stars Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks. Los Angeles fans, however, are currently focused on Leonard and if he can return in time for the NBA postseason.

Kawhi missed eight straight games with knee inflammation to finish the regular season.

During the team's second-to-last game against the Utah Jazz on Friday night, Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank joined the Bally Sports broadcast with Brian Sieman and Jim Jackson to speak about a number of topics, including the injury status of Kawhi Leonard.

“With Kawhi, he’s dealing with inflammation,” President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said on the Clippers broadcast. “It’s no secret he’s had a couple surgeries to that knee. It’s not uncommon over the course of it where you deal with inflammation. With inflammation, it limits your ability to make some natural basketball moves, so he’s working his tail off, the staff is working their tail off to try to help with the inflammation.”

One of the Clippers' main priorities heading into the 2023-24 season was to take the regular season more seriously. The 2022-23 season was a mixed bag and it ended in disappointing fashion as Leonard and George were both injured.

While Leonard remains out and the team isn't rushing him back to action, there also doesn't appear to be much concern from an organizational standpoint regarding his injury. The expectation as of now is that Kawhi should be ready to play by the time Game 1 arrives this weekend, but the team will have to see how he responds to this week of practice and rehab before deciding on his status.