Sunday, July 21, 2024

Stephen A. Smith isn’t holding back his thoughts on Kawhi Leonard being on Team USA.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 7: Kawhi Leonard #8 of the USA Basketball 2024 Men's National Team looks to pass under pressure from Jabari Smith Jr. #39 of the USA Basketball 2024 Men's Select Team during a practice session at the team's training camp at the UNLV Mendenhall Center on July 7, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Clippers didn’t make a good deal when they signed Kawhi Leonard.

It didn’t translate into the team beating the Los Angeles Lakers as the most beloved or respected team in the city.

It didn’t translate into a championship or a trip to the NBA Finals.

It didn’t even translate into better PR, as Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA, but he’s definitely not very marketable due to his personality.

Time and again, Leonard has missed key stretches of the season and, outside of the bubble, has never been available when it really counts in the playoffs.

However, they continued to bet on him and even gave him another extension this season.

And while it makes a lot of sense from a talent and impact standpoint and he’s not to blame for getting hurt, it just hasn’t worked out.

That’s why Stephen A. Smith didn’t hold back his thoughts on his preparation for Team USA.

In an article on The OGs Show with Udonis Haslem and Mike Millers, he claimed that he should not appear at the Olympics, going so far as to say that the Clippers should not allow him.

Smith said no one would bet money on Leonard playing in the summer and then being healthy during the season simply because everyone knows that’s not happening.

So as much as I understand patriotism and all that, it just doesn’t make any sense.

As great a player as Kawhi is, Team USA has the means to replace him.

Basketball is his livelihood and he collects paychecks to play.

That means one should only expect him to play for the team that pays his salary.

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