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Jun 27, 2024 1:45 pm

Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid healthy for Team USA training camp

embiid kawhi

Head coach Steve Kerr expects to have all hands on deck when Team USA begins training camp in Las Vegas, ramping up to the Olympics in Paris.

Kerr said three players with injuries at the end of the playoffs — Kawhi Leonard (Clippers), Joel Embiid (76ers) and Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers) — would not be limited physically and are expected to be available to play the first exhibition July 10 against Canada.

“We’ve been in touch with everyone, not just those three guys,” Kerr said on a conference call Thursday morning. “We’ve been in communication constantly, so we expect all 12 guys to be ready to roll.”

Haliburton injured his hamstring in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Leonard told Kerr and Team USA general manager Grant Hill he has been working out for multiple weeks. He played only two of the Clippers’ final 14 games because of inflammation in his right knee.

Haliburton said Thursday the 12 players announced in April remain motivated by claiming a gold medal in Paris. To date, Hill and Kerr haven’t needed to replace anyone on the original roster.

That includes NBA champion Jayson Tatum of the Celtics, who said last week he’s fully committed to being on the team. He’ll wear the No. 10 jersey that Kobe Bryant chose with previous Olympic teams.

Haliburton was present for the press conference with Kerr and is already working out in Vegas.

“Hamstring feels good overall,” Haliburton said. “Winning is the peak of the sport. Winning a gold medal is right at the top of it.”

The first game of Olympic competition is a month away for the United States, which plays Serbia in Paris on July 28. The other known opponent in the group is South Sudan. A third and final team is to be determined next month in the qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico featuring the host country, Lithuania, Mexico, Italy, Bahrain and Ivory Coast.

Kevin Durant has the most Olympic hardware on the roster with three gold medals, but LeBron James also has two and numerous others have one.

“I think from the standpoint of career achievement, this team is probably as decorated as any since the 1992 Dream Team,” Kerr said.

But Kerr cautioned that the challenge at the 2024 Games will be dramatically different than it was 32 years ago.

“The world of basketball has gotten so much better, so much stronger,” he said. “This is an entirely different field we’re facing. This will be not easy at all for Team USA. In 1992, (Dream Team head coach) Chuck Daly never had to call a timeout. I don’t expect to do that.”

–Field Level Media

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