The Thunder made a business decision when trading James Harden nine months ago. Now, they need to be just as cold-blooded with Scott Brooks. Brooks has consistently left points on the board in each of the last three seasons and has shown no ability to learn from his mistakes. Read More. Written by Jonathan Tjarks on May 17, 2013
George Karl offered an endorsement of Gregg Popovich as the next coach of Team USA.
"I hope he gets the USA job," Karl said. "I think he wants it. He's a military guy who, I think, brings a dignity to representing the United States, and he's also earned the respect of the basketball world."
Popovich has led the Spurs to fourteen straight 50-win seasons and has a .605 winning percentage in the playoffs.
"I think the one thing I respect about him is he puts as many quality possessions on the court, in the course of 82 games, as any coach in the NBA," said Karl, who is sixth all time with 1,123 wins. "He builds a team system that magnifies team but also magnifies stars, which is sometimes a lot more difficult to do than fans think it is. Incorporating the talent of your star into the team. I'm not sure in San Antonio if everybody is happy, but everybody seems to be."
Blake Griffin expressed an interest in playing for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics.
"Yeah, absolutely, it's something that I want to do," Griffin said. "Obviously it's a great honor.”
Griffin was in Team USA’s training camp in preparation for the last Olympics.
Griffin was considered to have a good chance to make the team, but had to drop out due to a left knee injury that required surgery.
“I was really looking forward to playing last year,” Griffin said. “It was very disappointing not being able to be there. I kind of turned my sights to getting back healthy. So my next goal for that is 2016.
"They talked about it last summer when I got hurt, about me coming back and being involved in the process over the next four summers.”
Team USA continues to hope that Mike Krzyzewski changes his mind and returns as head coach.
But Krzyzewski reiterated again on Tuesday that he has moved on entirely and wants to focus on coaching Duke.
Krzyzewski coached Team USA to their Gold Medal wins in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, along with Gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2007 FIBA Americas Championship. Krzyzewski's one blight was a Bronze at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Steve Nash is overseeing the Canadian National Basketball Team, which could have a golden generation on its hands with Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Cory Joseph, Trey Lyles, Andrew Nicholson, Myck Kabongo and Kelly Olynyk coming up the ranks.
Nash's first request was to increase the budget for the team.
“We need money to fly players around, have coaches, have scouts,” said Nash. “It’s the bare minimum of what other countries do. This was something we couldn’t do if I didn’t sign on.”
“We’re heading to a place when we will have to cut NBA players for the national team,” Canada Basketball CEO Wayne Parrish said. “And hopefully the bond is so strong that they’ll get it.”
“Look back 10 years or so, when players didn’t feel a need or a want to play for Canada,” Nash said. “I don’t think there’s that tangible tradition for our program. We have to be a program that really benefits the players. We used to say, ‘You have to play for Canada.’ Why? Because it’s your country. We have to do better than that.”
Jerry Colangelo confirmed that Kyrie Irving will be invited to the Team USA minicamp this summer.
“You can be assured that he’ll be one of the invitees,” Colangelo said. “He’s already established himself as one of the top three or four point guards in the league.”
Irving will join about two dozen players at the end of July in preparation for the 2014 World Championship.
Colangelo is predicting about six players from the 2014 World Championship team will play in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“As I think about it, to keep this system going and for the young players to aspire to be on that national team in the Olympics, you need to have half a roster turn over each time,” he said. “This is going to be primarily from the group we had last summer from the Select team and some additions. We’re still up in the air exactly who, but it’s all about getting people prepared and ready and moving up the ladder.”
Andrei Kirilenko is retiring from the Russian national team for family reasons.
“I was thinking in summertime I don’t have enough time with my kids,” he said. “My wife and kids, I want to be around them. I don’t want to be dad who’s spending two hours and then you don’t see your kids. It’s a hard decision.
“It’s kind of a dilemma: Going around the globe, playing basketball, have fun or spend your time with your kids and have fun and see how they’re growing. You want to be around them at this kind of age when they’re growing, they start playing hockey, start playing basketball. You want to see the improvement, not only in sports but the person.
“It’s a tough decision but sooner or later, it’s going to happen. We had the generation of (Sergei) Belov, (Arvydas) Sabonis, then the next generation and now the next generation.”
Kirilenko led Russia to a bronze medal finish at the 2012 Olympics.
Damian Lillard has been mentioned as a candidate to participate in USA Basketball’s minicamp, slated for late July in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Damian is definitely on our radar,” director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo said. “He's one of the bright young stars we have in this game and certainly his chances are very high that he makes our list.”
The minicamp list of attendees will be announced sometime after the NBA season.
Lillard, a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors, is averaging 18.4 points, 6.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 38.5 minutes per game.
Duke's Mike Krzyzewski said last summer that the 2012 Olympics would be his last year with USA Basketball, but the men's national team continues to pursue Coach K and will not name a coach until after the college season, according to sources.
One of Team USA's key motivations is to give Krzyzewski as much time as possible to consider another run with the program.
Team USA officials are holding out hope that Krzyzewski can be talked into one more tour as coach.
Candidates that have been mentioned as possible successors to Krzyzewski are Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Doug Collins and Michigan State's Tom Izzo.