Hubbard: Colangelo and Popovich Need to Make It Work

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If you wanted to compare the possibilities of who might be the next U.S. Olympic basketball coach to the weather, the following would make perfect sense:

A heat wave will soon hit Antarctica, a driving rainstorm will be pelting the Sahara and Jerry Colangelo will no doubt hire Gregg Popovich.

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Colangelo likes Doc Rivers, not David Blatt, as next Team USA coach

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Doc Rivers is one of the top choices — of not the top choice — to become the next coach of Team USA. This is a subject that was speculated upon in the immediate aftermath of Team USA’s gold medal triumph in London, and there is reason to believe it is closer to becoming a reality.

Why?

Take a look at the transcript below from Colangelo’s recent interview on SheridanHoopsRadio.

When the subject of who would replace Mike Krzyzewski was raised, Colangelo threw Rivers’ name out there without any prompting. (And while he was at it, he flat-out rejected the notion of Russia’s head coach, David Blatt, an Israeli-American who played collegiately at Princeton, coming under consideration for the job.

The next Team USA coach will lead the team in the summer of 2014 at the World Cup (formerly known as the World Championship) in Spain.

Here is the transcript:

CS: The word came from London that Coach K said that this was going to be it for him and if that is indeed the case, he’s going to go out with 50 wins in his last 50 games, and that’s a heck of an accomplishment. I know you want to change his mind. I know you guys are supposed to get together for a bottle of red wine and a pizza. Has that happened yet?

JC: No.
CS: So what is your reading on whether Coach K is really truly done or whether he is open to having his mind changed?

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SH Blog: Oakley rips Dwight Howard; Nash and Triano back together for Team Canada

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From www.fiba.com

Steve Nash does not play international basketball anymore, which is the biggest reason why Team Canada has fallen off the map competitively since in the 12 years since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when Nash, Todd MacCulloch and Rowen Barrett, coached by Jay Triano, won their group in pool play before losing in the first game of the knockout round to France.

There is a story I have heard in the years since that gives some good background to what caused Canada to flame out in the quarterfinals against a French team that had gone 2-3 in pool play and only advanced on a tiebreaker over China (but went on to win the silver medal).

By the way, that was the Olympics in which Vince Carter dunked over Frederic Weis, and Sarunas Jasikevicius missed a buzzer-beating 3 that would have defeated Team USA in the semifinals.

The way the Team Canada story goes, as I have heard it (let’s be clear here, this item falls under the journalist categorization of gossip) , is like this: After defeating Yugoslavia in the final game of pool play (Nash had 26, 8 and 8), Nash and backcourt mate Rowan Barrett were having a good time in the Olympic athletes village late at night when they met two female sprinters. They challenged the ladies to a race, and Barrett pulled his hamstring.

Canada trailed by 15 at halftime against France in the next game, and McCulloch’s 23 and 9 were not enough. So ended Canada’s latest and greatest gasp for glory in Olympic basketball.

Why is all of this relevant now?

Because Triano has been re-installed as coach of Team Canada, and Nash is the top executive for Canada Basketball in a move than is akin, on a Canadian level, to Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski taking over the USA Basketball program in 2005 when it was in tatters.

More on the Nash-Triano relationship from Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: “I’ve known Jay for 21, 22 years, since he recruited me to go to Simon Fraser University from Victoria and he’s always been a class act, just a phenomenal person and somebody who always seemed to be selfless,” said Nash. “He obviously wanted a young player to go to his university but he was also very honest with me. He told me he thought I should go play basketball in the States and for a coach that’s trying to recruit you, that was a different approach. “That meant a lot to me to hear him be honest and hear him be humble and to tell me that he believed in me and that I could go and do great things.” Nash and Triano, the 38-year-old all-star and his 53-year-old mentor and friend, have one of the more enduring basketball relationships in Canada.  Triano was coaching at Simon Fraser when Nash was a high school all-star in Victoria and they were coach and star on the last Canadian men’s team to qualify for the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. That, of course, provided the high-water mark for Canada internationally since the late 1980s, a 5-2 record and a quarter-final berth. Now the two are charged with getting Canada back to that same level in 2016 in Rio, which would be just the second time in 28 years a Canadian men’s team has competed at the Olympic Games after missing out in 1992, 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012. “To have Steve come back — he’s still an NBA basketball player, he doesn’t need to do this — I think is a huge tribute to him, to come back and care about the next generation of Canadians,” said Triano. “That’s what our relationships were about in the past and that’s what they’re about moving forward into the future. We care and we keep passing it along.”

A few other items of note from a sultry summer Saturday in The Association:

  • Who will be the sixth and seventh playoff seeds in the West if we assume the Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Spurs, Grizzlies and Nuggets are going to get five of them. Chris Bernucca of SheridanHoops.com breaks down the possibilities for the Mavericks, Jazz, Warriors, Jazz, Timberwolves and Suns.
  • After a 127-day absence, Dwight Howard returned to Twitter. I took the liberty of advising him on how to win some of Metta World Peace’s pocket change Benjamins.
  • Carmelo Anthony on Amare Stoudemire, who worked with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer at Olajuwon’s ranch in Katy, Texas.  ”It’s not like he didn’t have those moves. I guess he just didn’t feel comfortable down there, or whatever it may be,” Anthony said Friday during a break at his two-day youth camp at St. John’s University, according to Roderick Boone of Newsday. “But him going down there and putting me on the wing, now I get to play off of him rather than me going down there and him playing off of me, which could be a deadly weapon if it all works out.”
  • Charles Oakley ripped Dwight Howard, according to Ben Golliver of CBSSports.com: “Former NBA enforcer Charles Oakley has proven time after time over the years that he suffers no fools. Dwight Howard, meanwhile, has always had a bit of goofiness to his showmanship, and his clown act went totally off the rails last season, amidst trade demands, awkward confrontations with his coach, a press conference where he professed his so-called “loyalty,” more trade demands, a season-ending back surgery, hiding out in Los Angeles and, finally, a long-awaited trade to the Lakers that freed the Orlando Magic from his child-like indecision and neediness. Surprise, surprise, the hard-headed Oakley didn’t like how the “Dwightmare” played out. In a recent ESPN Radio interview, Oakley got a few digs in on Howard and took the Magic to task for their appeasement of their former franchise center.

    “A lot of guys cry in this league these days. I try not to get caught up in that. The management in Orlando let him get away with it. Most times, they put kids in timeout. They never put him in timeout. He just kept crying and got his way. Now he’s in LA with Kobe so they got a chance to win a couple championships in the next two or three years.

    “They could have traded him and got something better for him last year. I think they just tried to play along. They just pleased him anyway they could but he never did anything to please them.”

    Golliver wrote: Hard to argue with any of that. The Magic bungled the entire mess badly, settling for pennies on the dollar years after it became clear a future was untenable, while also losing former coach Stan Van Gundy in the process. What’s interesting is that Oakley was actually way out in front of the bubbling Howard mess. Back in June 2010, he questioned Howard’s commitment to the game during a Florida radio interview.

    (FRIDAY’s SH BLOG: Bosh says Lakers best team in NBA “on paper”)

    (ALL PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES)

 

LeBron taking his talents to Ipanema Beach

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No American has ever played on four Olympic men’s basketball teams. LeBron James wants to be the first.

In an interview with Tom Withers of the Associated Press, who just returned from covering the U.S. Olympic team at the London Games, James said he wants to play in the 2016 Olympics if he is healthy — and if the rules allow for it.

Commissioner David Stern has proposed limiting the Olympics to players 23 and under, but FIBA secretary general David Baumann shot that idea down with authority on Friday.

James has not yet informed USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo of his intentions, but the 27-year-old said he’d like to step inside the five rings one more time.

“We haven’t had that conversation,” James told Withers. “But if I’m healthy, I did the math and I’ll be 31, and if I have the opportunity to be out there, I will do it. I love it. I love being a part of it and representing my country. I don’t know what may happen in four years, but it would be great to be back out there again. Definitely.”

If James is going to have company as a four-time Olympian, he could get it from Carmelo Anthony, who also was a member of the bronze-medal U.S. team in Athens, and the gold medal-winning teams in Beijing and London.

If those two players do take their talents to Rio, there will likely be a new coach leading them.

Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who won his final 50 games coaching the men’s national team, told the AP during the London Games that he would be relinquishing the position.

 

 

FIBA to Stern: No changes to the Olympics

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FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann

FIBA has spoken.

And their message to NBA Commissioner David Stern is this: We’re not changing the Olympics, bub.

In an in-house interview with FIBA.com, secretary general Patrick Baumann took a strong stance against changing to a 23-and-under rule, which Stern and NBA owners are pushing for.

Baumann said such a change would actually give the United States an unfair advantage because of the advanced developmental system in the U.S. compared to other countries.

“There is also a more general issue of what the Olympic Games represent. The NBA, the IOC and FIBA, we have all earned a lot – not just in financial terms – from professional athletes being at the Olympics since 1992. This is the case with regards to the way basketball has grown, from where we were then to where we are now,” Baumann said. “So it would be premature to make changes in the quality of basketball at the Olympics, especially before having maximised the potential of the World Cup. So it’s too early to make any changes in the Olympic programme.

Baumann is proposing moving the World Cup (formerly known as the World Championship) to one year prior to the Olympics, and making it the main Olympic qualification tournament. Baumann also said FIBA would again petition the ICO to increase the number of teams in the Olympic tournament from 12 to 16. The IOC has twice rejected this proposal.

FIBA also is petitioning the IOC to add 3-on-3 basketball to the game in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Changes to the World Cup would not be instituted until 2019.

Interview excerpts:

  • “From a rules perspective, tanking and flopping always remain issues we need to monitor and improve, but I am extremely happy about the strong officiating we had in London, with referees from all continents participating efficiently at each level of the tournament. The three-point line has been extended only recently but there is already a debate whether we should not have immediately moved to the NBA three-point distance.”
  • “There are heated discussions about which is the prime event between the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Olympic Basketball Tournament. It’s not about comparing the two. They have different values and we benefit from both. Certainly in terms of the sport aspect, the FIBA Basketball World Cup is more intense because the best teams are really there. But the Olympics represent something much bigger with its values and the fact that winning an Olympic medal is probably the dream of a lifetime for every athlete. We can’t refuse that.”
  • The NBA and FIBA absolutely need to keep working together. There is no other solution for basketball to grow from where it is now to where it can go next. I’m sure the IOC wants the NBA’s best athletes to keep on playing in the Olympics, we want that too as well as, of course, at the World Cup. And we’ve heard that the players want to come to the Olympics. Also, the NBA wants to continue to progress globally, to benefit from basketball’s popularity and growth. We need to find the right way to define the structure of our competitions in general – it’s about the World Cup, how you qualify for it, how many games the players have to play in the four-year cycle. It’s not just about the two weeks of the Olympics. So it’s a whole package that we’ve been working on for a year now. Within that package, the Olympic Games are an important piece. As I said, we will make some tough decisions at the end of the year about how we strengthen the World Cup, how new countries can climb the ranking and how we ensure the NBA stays within the FIBA basketball family so that have 20 more years of growth coming up at the same speed if not better, because we feel we can do better.

Click here to read Baumann’s entire interview.

(RELATED CONTENT: Sheridan: An Open Letter to Commissioner David Stern)

(RELATED CONTENT: David Stern Wants to Ruin The Olympics, Part I)

(RELATED CONTENT: David Stern Wants to Ruin the Olympics, Part II)