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After winning the 2014 NBA Finals MVP award, Kawhi Leonard was a favorite for the Team USA's roster in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. But speaking with the San Antonio Express-News this week, the 23-year-old said that he removed himself from consideration, citing the previous struggles of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli in the seasons after their international summer hoops.
“This was a very difficult decision,” Leonard told the Express-News. “I want to go out and compete the guys from these other countries but I need the time to heal and just rest my body from the long season.” In the 2014 season, Leonard averaged 29.1 minutes per game in 66 games; in the playoffs he played 32 minutes per game in 23 games.
To the dismay of Gregg Popovich, the 36-year-old Manu Ginobli still hopes to represent Argentina in the international tournament, despite suffering a stress fracture in his right leg in Game 5 of the Finals.