Two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard has withdrawn from Team USA ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The LA Clippers forward, who has been dealing with lingering knee issues, made the decision in consultation with both USA Basketball and Clippers officials after observing training camp in Las Vegas.

Leonard, who missed the latter part of the Clippers' season due to right knee inflammation, had shown improvement and was participating in practices. However, the decision was made to prioritise his preparation for the upcoming NBA season over the Olympics.

"Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas," USA Basketball stated.

"However, he respects that USA Basketball and the Clippers determined it's in his best interest to spend the remainder of the summer preparing for the upcoming season."

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers drives to the basket on Kevin Huerter #9 of the Sacramento Kings during a 176-175 double overtime Kings win at Arena on February 24, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White has been named as Leonard's replacement.

White, who recently signed a four-year extension worth $126 million, played a pivotal role in the Celtics' championship run last season; averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 assists, earning his second consecutive All-Defensive Second Team selection.

He also has previous international experience representing Team USA at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

"I am happy to announce that Derrick will compete at his first Olympic Games on the heels of a championship season in Boston," said USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill.

"We look forward to him joining the team in the coming days as we continue preparations for Paris."

While White's inclusion is yet another feel-good story for the most successful franchise in NBA history, the decision has sparked controversy, notably among those who believed Jaylen Brown should have been the pick, including the Celtics forward himself.

Brown, coming off an MVP performance in the NBA Finals, expressed his frustration on social media, hinting at a possible slight by posting one cryptic message and another targeting Nike, a major sponsor of Team USA.

With White joining fellow Celtics Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday, Team USA aims to secure its fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. The team will continue its preparation with a series of friendly matches, starting with a game against Canada in Las Vegas before heading to Abu Dhabi.