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Health concerns about Mike Krzyzewski have USA Basketball considering Plan B

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Back at the start of February, Mike Krzyzewski missed a Duke game (vs. Georgia Tech) as he spent a couple of days in the cardiac wing of a North Carolina hospital. He’s been on the bench ever since, and Duke played the incident down, so it hasn’t drawn much discussion.

However, that had USA Basketball’s decision maker Jerry Colangelo considering potential Plan B options for this summer’s Rio Olympics.

Colangelo admitted it in an interesting story by Scott Howard-Cooper at NBA.com.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, who admits he is concerned about the health of Mike Krzyzewski, said he has privately been considering replacements in case Krzyzewski is unable to coach the United States in the Olympics in August, telling NBA TV, “Certainly in the back of my mind I’m thinking about what ifs.”

Stressing it is too early to be thinking seriously about implementing a backup plan for the Rio de Janeiro Games, Colangelo conceded he has been formulating ideas. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has already been announced as Krzyzewski’s successor with Team USA, but it is unknown whether Colangelo would ask Popovich to start this summer or choose from among the current Team USA staff of Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau or Thunder assistant Monty Williams.

“I’m always concerned about people I love, and I love Coach K,” Colangelo told NBA TV. “You’ve heard my expression, ‘We’re joined at the hip and have been ever since we joined together back in ’05.’ I am concerned about his health. I told him on the phone (recently) nothing is more important than his health. Not Duke basketball. Not USA Basketball. I hope and I pray that he can take care of his situations, whatever they may be, and that he’s healthy and ready to go.”

This may be a moot exercise. You can be sure Krzyzewski wants to coach another Olympics and if he is able, he will. Colangelo isn’t going to force him aside, this would need to be Krzyzewski’s call.

However, it’s not out of the question. And a smart chairman is prepared for the alternatives.

Popovich makes the most sense from where I sit; he could step in with that same group of assistants and do the job well. However, NBA players also respect Thibodeau and would gladly play for him in Rio as well; the question is will he have another NBA job to focus on this summer.

Frankly, either Williams or Boeheim could lead this team to gold. The USA will be heavy favorites in Rio, regardless of the makeup of the team. While Spain has had the talent and cohesion to challenge the United States the past couple of Olympics, the age of Pau Gasol and much of Spain’s core (outside Ricky Rubio and Serge Ibaka), and injuries to Marc Gasol, suggest Spain has taken a step back. There are good teams around the world, but the USA would need to beat themselves in Rio.

Reports: Cavaliers talking to Pelicans about Ryan Anderson; Magic about Channing Frye

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If there is one guy I’m betting on getting moved before the trade deadline, it is Ryan Anderson. New Orleans is fielding a lot of calls about one of the best offensive stretch fours in the league, there is a lot of interest in him (the Pelicans would love to unload one of their guards in such a deal).

Cleveland — which realizes it needs some upgrades for a potential Finals showdown with Golden State — is at the front of the list trying to get things done, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Anderson could give the Cavaliers options in small ball lineups, playing in combinations with Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Although, rumors of a Love-based blockbuster will not die.

Don’t bet on a Love trade, at least not at the deadline. If the Cavs fall in the Finals again and need to re-assess this summer, a lot of things come into play, Love included. At the deadline, it’s highly unlikely. Also, as noted before, there are a lot of competition for Anderson (and other stretch fours), with teams such as Toronto rumored to be in the mix, not to mention the Clippers.

In case the Anderson trade doesn’t come through, the Cavaliers have a Plan B with Orlando and Channing Frye, as the Cavaliers try to blow up a Frye-to-the-Clippers deal.

It’s going to be an interesting final 19 hours before the trade deadline.

Report: Rockets trying to pitch Jazz on Ty Lawson trade

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Utah is in the market for a point guard. They lost Dante Exum before the season started and have tried to go with a combination of Trey Burke and Raul Neto, but it’s not been impressive (they have won lately because Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert both got healthy).

Houston is trying to pitch Utah on taking Ty Lawson as the solution to their problems — and getting him out of Houston, where he has been a major disappointment this season. Marc Stein of ESPN has the report:

There is some mutual interest.

That said, in a past twitter chat Lawson said he would never want to play for Utah because the city was “too boring.”

For the Rockets, this makes sense — they move Lawson (which they’ve wanted to do for a while now), they get a potential backup point in Burke plus whatever is needed to make the salaries match.

Does this make sense for the Jazz? When healthy and focused he’s a quick pick-and-roll point guard who could make plays with Favors and Gobert. He plays up tempo, is a solid scorer, and can really dish the rock and help move the ball. He also hasn’t played anything like that guy in recent games for the Rockets when he did get some run. He’s battled some alcohol issues with two DUIs in Denver, where he clashed with coach Brian Shaw. Is he past that and would he be a good influence on a young Jazz core?

The advantage for the Jazz is that Lawson’s contract is not guaranteed for next season — a condition of his move to the Rockets last summer — so if the Jazz want a rental to see how it works, they can swing this deal and cut bait this summer. But do they want to give up assets for that rental?

It’s a deal to watch. The Jazz want to make the playoffs and Lawson could help them get there. Even if they don’t keep him long term.

Between Lawson and Howard, the Rockets are aggressive on the trade market, but making headway will not be easy.

Report: Do Kings want to trade Ben McLemore? Or is that what Karl wants?

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This summer there were rumors flying around — getting Celtics’ fans excited — that the Sacramento Kings wanted to trade DeMarcus Cousins. They didn’t. Well, not owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Vlade Divac. Coach George Karl did. There was some tension between Karl and Cousins that both sides have said is patched up. You can decide for yourself the level of truth in that, but Cousins spent All-Star weekend swatting down those kinds of rumors.

Now there are rumors the Sacramento Kings are shopping young sharpshooter Ben McLemore, and teams such as the Cavaliers are interested.

But do the Kings want to move him, or is this more Karl? From Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Kings need to look at any potential McLemore deal not as what’s good for Karl but rather as part of a bigger picture — will what they get in return for him make them better, particularly long-term?

McLemore is athletic, can defend, is starting to grasp the game better, and is shooting 37 percent from three this season. He made nice progress from his rookie to sophomore season, but that has stalled out some this season under Karl. Is that because of Karl, his system, and the dysfunction around the Kings, or is his ceiling lower than anticipated? All of this informs any potential trade the Kings could make — if the Kings don’t see as much potential as someone else, there is value there in the Kings making a trade. If not, hold him and see if the next coach can put him in better positions to succeed.

My guess is he stays, unless some team in desperation throws up a big offer.

Sacramento Kings to use awesome Arco Arena retro court for six games

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Next season, the Kings are moving into a new arena in downtown Sacramento, a state of the art building.

For the team’s six “Friday night flashback” games the rest of this season — plus the final contest — the team will play on a retro court designed to look almost exactly like the court at the Arco Arena when the team first moved to Sacramento in 1985. The court will have the Kings logo at center court, the original baby blue framing, and the “SACRAMENTO” on the baseline will be in the original font.

“Our final season at Sleep Train Arena has been filled with opportunities to look back at our rich history,” said Kings President Chris Granger in a statement. “This court is a special way to salute all of the fans, players and coaches who have helped us build toward a proud future in Sacramento.”

While there is always nostalgia, nobody is going to miss Arco/Sleep Train that much, it’s one of the more outdated buildings in the league. Plus the new arena looks fantastic. But I love this idea to celebrate the old look on the way out. Those baby blue uniforms are some of my favorite throwbacks.