Report: USA Basketball giving Coach K more time to decide to stick around

2 Comments

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).

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
1 Comment

CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
1 Comment

Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

1 Comment

LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

4 Comments

For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.