London was supposed to be it. After the summer Olympics Mike Krzyzewski had said he was going to walk away from coaching USA Basketball to let someone else have a shot.
Now the powers that be are dragging their feet in taking on a new coach because they are hoping Coach K will change his mind, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
USA Basketball officials, sources said, continue to hold out hope that Krzyzewski can be talked into one more tour in charge of the NBA stars who represent the United States at the highest levels of international competition…
USA Basketball’s original plan called for the coaching situation to be clarified by late 2012 or early in 2013, with Colangelo expected to turn to San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich or Boston’s Doc Rivers if Krzyzewski held firm….
However, Krzyzewski told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz this week that “nothing has changed with anything.”
To me, Popovich is the best choice as a replacement. You need a coach so respected he is above the political fray, a guy players respect and want to play for. That is Popovich, and I think he has earned the right to be asked.
Colangelo and Popovich have an icy relationship, dating back to 2005 when Krzyzewski was chosen for the USA job and there were rumors that Colangelo questioned Popovich’s desire for the job and patriotism. You don’t really do that to a former Air Force guy like Pops.
Colangelo rightfully loves what Krzyzewski has done for Team USA — he has got the best players to come and put aside their egos for the team. Since 2005 Team USA has gone 62-1 under Coach K, with a couple gold medals. He has been impressive. If Krzyzewski wants to stay on you should be given that leeway.
But if he is moving on, so should Colangelo and Team USA. And Popovich should be the man (with all due respect to Rivers, who would be good in the job as well).