Injuries, fatigue and fear of the Zika virus have conspired to keep several prominent athletes from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, including Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge.
Kevin Durant, Paul George, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are considered four locks for the United States’ Olympic roster. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was a strong contender to make the team prior to players withdrawing themselves from consideration.
In their wake, he’s a near-lock.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the MVP runner-up and Defensive Player of the Year is one of seven players projected to make Team USA’s 12-man Olympic roster.
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Expecting his first child in July, many believe spending time with his family would be at the top of his list. It appears to not affect Leonard’s desire to play in his first Olympics.
Other players under consideration for the final five spots are Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Los Angeles’ DeAndre Jordan and Memphis’ Mike Conley.
The official roster for Team USA will be announced at the end of June. The team is scheduled to play a five-game exhibition showcase in Las Vegas from July 22-Aug. 1 before the Olympics officially commence on Aug. 5.