But new Raptor Kawhi Leonard doing the same thing — skipping this week’s USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas — is going to play differently after his successful efforts to get traded this summer away from the Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich. Who just happens to be the Team USA coach.
Chris Haynes of ESPN broke the story.
Just to add to the contrast, DeMar DeRozan will be there in Las Vegas.
First things first: This minicamp is not mandatory. Leonard skipping it, especially coming off a season where he played just nine games due to injury, should not be a surprise. It was not tp USA Basketball officials.
As noted before, this summer and his forcing a trade (whether you think it was justified or not) has not played well with a large segment of the NBA fan base, particularly more casual fans. This just adds to that.
Leonard does not have an Olympic gold medal or a FIBA World Championship on his resume, he has not played for USA Basketball in those events. Because of that, and because some of his advisors want to do more marketing around him, it is possible he will be at camp next year to make the team. And, if he’s healthy and back to form, and he wants to play, it would be hard to keep Leonard off the USA roster.
We’ll see if he wants to next July.