Mike Krzyzewski might coach USA Basketball in 2016 Olympics

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For months, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has maintained he’s done as Team USA’s basketball coach.

But he might be having a change of heart. Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated:

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledged in a phone interview Saturday that he’s in discussions to return as head coach of USA Basketball through the 2016 Olympics.

“There’s a chance,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s correct.”

There’s no shortage of quality replacement options – including Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich – if Krzyzewski steps down. After all, the 2016 coach, whoever it may be, will be coaching the most-talented team in the world.

But Krzyzewski had an especially remarkable string of success, going 62-1 with gold medals in Beijing and London since taking the job in 2006. That’s why USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo isn’t rushing Krzyzewski.

“I would never do that,” Colangelo said about talking to other candidates. “I’ve said that from the beginning, for what he’s invested in USA Basketball, he’s entitled to make his decision before anyone.”

Thamel reports a coach must be in place by a July minicamp, and I’d expect Krzyzewski to decide by then, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he decides to stay on and then later changes his mind. We’re still three years from 2016, and although it would be preferable to name a coach now, there’s plenty of time to handle this.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.