Gregg Popovich, addressing his players in the locker room, called coaching Team USA to a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics “the best feeling I’ve ever had in basketball.”
That and a few defensive slides in the hotel will apparently end his tenure with USA Basketball.
New managing director of the United States men’s basketball team Grant Hill is seeking someone to replace the 72-year-old Spurs coach with Team USA.
Hill told The Undefeated that he hopes to hire a new coach for USA Basketball before the 2021-22 NBA season begins on Oct. 19. A source told The Undefeated a current NBA coach with previous USA Basketball experience would likely be hired as the next coach of the team.
Current NBA head coaches with USA Basketball experience:
- Warriors’ Steve Kerr (assistant for 2020 Olympics, 2019 World Cup)
- Hawks’ Nate McMillan (assistant for 2012 Olympics, 2010 World Championship, 2008 Olympics, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2006 World Championship)
- Suns’ Monty Williams (assistant for 2016 Olympics, 2014 World Cup
- Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau (assistant for 2016 Olympics, 2014 World Cup)
- Heat’s Erik Spoelstra (head coach of 2021 select team)
- Magic’s Jamahl Mosley (assistant for 2021 select team, 2018 national-team minicamp)
- Celtics’ Ime Udoka (assistant for 2018 national-team minicamp, 2016 select team)
- Jazz’s Quin Snyder (assistant for 2003 Pan American Games)
- 76ers’ Doc Rivers (assistant for 2001 Goodwill Games)
- Mavericks’ Jason Kidd (player in 2008 Olympics, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2003 FIBA Americas Championship, 2000 Olympics)
- Trail Blazers’ Chauncey Billups (player in 2010 World Championship, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship)
The new coach will take over a team with the same gold-or-bust standard as always – but more challenges in achieving that goal.
Popovich had an uneven tenure with Team USA. He oversaw the Americans’ seventh-place place finish in the 2019 World Cup – their worst-ever finish in a major tournament. Popovich said he thought about the crucial loss to France every day for two years… then lost to France in the first game of the Tokyo Olympics. Popovich got testy amid the United States’ stumbles. Players grumbled about his coaching style.
But Popovich went out on top by guiding the U.S. to Olympic gold (over France, no less). That’s clearly a cherished achievement for the Air Force veteran.
With that accomplished, there will be renewed speculation about when Popovich will retire from San Antonio.