Woj offers ominous sign for Kawhi Leonard's offseason

One of the top NBA Insiders gave an interesting report on what direction Kawhi's offseason could be headed.
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The LA Clippers and each player on their roster are already making preparations for next season. For the front office, that likely looks like evaluating prospects for draft night, planning out free agent moves and coming up with a host of backup plans. For the players, it probably looks like getting shots up, lifting weights, and getting healthy for a huge year next season.

Of all the players on LA's roster, the one whose health is unquestionably most important is Kawhi Leonard. After missing a handful of the Clippers' final regular season games in April two months ago with knee problems, Kawhi only played in two of LA's six playoff games against the Mavericks in round one of the playoffs. In the games he did appear in, he looked far from his normal self.

It was a development that likely riled up some PTSD among Clippers fans. Leonard's absence to conclude LA's season marks the fourth season in a row the Clips have finished out their season with Kawhi not healthy enough to be on the floor. We have already known this was a circumstance with potentially big ripple effects since it first presented itself at the end of the regular season.

But now, we are starting to see what those long-term effects may end up looking like. Previously, Kawhi had been named to the USA Olympic basketball roster to play alongside LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant for an Olympic gold medal this summer. But Friday night on ESPN's broadcast of the NBA Finals, top Insider Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that Celtics guard Derrick White could be a potential replacement player for the Olympic roster if Leonard is unable to go.

Derrick White could replace Kawhi on Olympic roster if Leonard cannot play

Many had already wondered if Kawhi would be healthy enough to participate in the biggest international competition that exists this summer. Obviously, his injury kept him out of the playoffs less than two months ago, so it is worth considering that this problem could bother him well into the summer.

The fact that it sounds like White is already being seen as a legitimate replacement for the roster does not seem to bode well for Leonard's injury. "[White] looms as a real, potential candidate for Team USA in the Summer Olympics if Kawhi Leonard is unable to successfully rehab back from that knee inflammation that kept him out of the back end of the playoffs."

Woj noted Derrick's two-way ability being one of the main reasons he is being considered as well. Of course, no official announcement has been made, and Kawhi is still expected to be on the roster as of right now. But this announcement will certainly raise some eyebrows.

We know that Leonard is a pretty closed-off individual who is not often visible to the public in the offseason. He is not active on social media, and mostly chooses to keep to himself. For that reason, it feels unlikely any kind of official news on his health or availability becomes leaked or made public any time soon.