It is unclear if USA Basketball head coach Gregg Popovich is going to coach the team beyond the Tokyo Olympics, but he is going to ride out the coronavirus epidemic for as long as necessary.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said Tuesday that both he and Popovich will remain with the team in 2021, which is when the Tokyo Olympics are expected to take place. The Summer Games have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The commitments everyone made for 2020 are still there, we’re all in and we’re committed,” Colangelo said, via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “It’s important to deal with the unknowns and this virus. This too shall pass and we’ll be back for everyone’s well being.”
Team USA training was scheduled to begin July 4 with the Olympics starting July 24, but the Tokyo Games were postponed this week. A new date for the Olympics has not been announced, and it’s possible there could be some scheduling conflicts depending upon if and when the NBA resumes its 2019-20 season. Colangelo admitted that could be a potential issue.
“We will follow the leader. We have to wait to see how everything is laid out and we’ll make the adjustment,” Colangelo said. “Our players are NBA players first, let’s face that. … Changing the window for the NBA is easier said than done. There’s a lot of logistics and contracts to deal with. Same for the Olympics. You have to assume it will be around the same dates.”
Gregg Popovich signed a three-year extension to remain coach of the San Antonio Spurs back in April, but it doesn’t sounds like it’s a guarantee he’ll see that deal out.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, questions linger about how long the 71-year-old Popovich will continue coaching with nothing left to prove. Amick says there is a wide belief around the NBA that Popovich is essentially operating on a year-by-year basis right now.
Popovich still has the itch, at least for now. He will coach Team USA at this summer’s Olympic Games.
The longtime San Antonio Spurs coach has played coy in the past when asked about his future, but that’s nothing new. You can’t fault Popovich for taking this approach. He has said and done just about everything in the game, and no one could blame him for retiring at any point.
Amick adds that Kansas coach Bill Self has been mentioned often as a potential Popovich replacement. Self said he’s never been spoken to by the Spurs when asked about this, but that could always change when Popovich actually steps down.
Many believe that it is only a matter of time before Becky Hammon becomes the first female head coach in NBA history, and we saw a great example of why she deserves a shot during the San Antonio Spurs’ win over the Miami Heat on Sunday.
The Spurs were leading 105-100 with 1:28 left in the game when DeMar DeRozan committed a foul on Jimmy Butler. It appeared the foul was committed well before Butler was in the act of shooting, but he was awarded a continuation on the play and the basket counted because of a goaltend. That would have cut San Antonio’s lead to 105-102 and put Butler at the line for a free throw, and it initially looked like Gregg Popovich was not going to challenge the call.
However, Hammon stepped in and was persistent in convincing Pop he had nothing to lose by challenging. The head coach agreed and asked for the play to be reviewed, and it was overturned.
huge assist here from Becky Hammond…she convinces Pop to challenge Jimmy Butler’s AND 1 continuation in tight game with one minute to play. Pop originally says no, then says yes. Spurs win challenge, points taken off board, and eventually win game. pic.twitter.com/CRlf2kaJDP
Butler made both free throws to cut the lead to three, but he could have cut it to two had the original call stood. In a game the Spurs won 107-102, that turned out to be a critical play.
Some are saying Hammon is only getting credit for the role she played in that sequence because she is a female, which may be true to some extent. That doesn’t make it wrong, as it further showcases why she deserves consideration as a head coaching candidate. Hammon obviously has a high basketball IQ and has earned the respect of Popovich, who is one of the greatest coaches of all time.
“He’s doing a hell of a job,” added Popovich about the so-called impersonator.
The 34-year-old Aldridge has always been a strong scorer from the midrange but has never been much of a three-point shooter, entering the year averaging 0.4 three-point attempts a game at a 28.3 percent success rate for his career. That has all changed this season however with Aldridge firing up 2.5 attempts from deep per game and connecting on a spectacular 45.5 percent of them.
Gregg Popovich is widely regarded as the first NBA coach to rest healthy players in what has become known as “load management,” but he wants no credit or blame for a practice that he thinks has gotten out of hand.
On Wednesday, Popovich insisted he “never” did load management, but instead monitored the minutes of stars like Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan in a bid to extend their careers. Furthermore, he added that load management in today’s game has become “farcical.”
Most recognize the Knicks have a poorly constructed roster, bad owner, and team that hasn’t won more than 32 games for five straight years. They view Fizdale as a scapegoat for the organization’s problems. Gregg Popovich certainly thinks so.
The San Antonio Spurs head coach weighed in on the Fizdale firing when speaking with the media on Friday. He called it “ridiculous” and “unfair.”
He’s right. This was only Fizdale’s second season as the team’s head coach. You’re expecting a huge turnaround after one and a quarter seasons, especially after stocking your roster with tons of power forwards in free agency? It’s lunacy.
But after eight straight losses, two of which came by blowout, the Knicks felt someone had to be accountable, and that’s why they fired Fizdale. It was an unfair move by a bad organization, but should be a lesson learned if you’re a potential head coach: this is what you’re in for if you take that job.
Gregg Popovich has never been shy when it comes to speaking out about change. We often see that when he addresses important political issues, but the San Antonio Spurs coach also cares about the less significant things. Take, for example, the dress code the NBA forces him and his colleagues to follow.
Popovich apparently is not comfortable while he is coaching. While speaking with the media recently, he said he wishes the NBA would allow coaches to wear sweatsuits on the sideline during games. Reporters let out a collective laugh when Popovich first began talking about it, but he was not joking.
Spurs’ Gregg Popovich on his dream dress code for NBA coaches: “I just wish we were in sweatsuits. I’m a big proponent of gym shoes and nice looking sweat suits so you don’t have to worry about ties and coats and all that stuff.” pic.twitter.com/RlgAXIn6YA
When one reporter noted that baseball managers are required to wear uniforms like the players, Popovich said “they did that when they were kids” and “probably feel good in that uniform.”
Popovich can’t be the only coach in the NBA who wishes he could dress more comfortably during games, but it seems unlikely that there will be any changes. Former NBA commissioner David Stern was strict when it came to dress codes with both players and coaches, and one star player once said that is the reason he got so big into fashion. Popovich is free to experiment with the colors and patterns on the suits he wears, but we don’t expect to see him in a full Adidas jumpsuit anytime soon.
In reality, there are two parties to blame for this: Morris and the Knicks. The Knicks meddled with a player who had already agreed to a deal elsewhere, and Morris went back on his agreement to sign with the Spurs.
President Donald Trump has finally waded into the growing controversy between the NBA and China, but it’s not the Chinese he’s going after.
Trump ripped Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for their responses to the growing controversy, with both taking a more neutral stance toward the NBA’s handling of Rockets GM Daryl Morey speaking in support of Hong Kong.
Pres. Trump criticizes NBA coaches Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich's statements on China amid backlash over tweet supporting Hong Kong protests.
Donald Trump on NBA's response to China: "I watched this guy, Steve Kerr. He was like a little boy who was so scared to be answering the question. He couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking. . I watched Popovich do sort of the same thing. But he didn’t look quite as scared."
Asked if he's okay with how China is pressuring the NBA, Trump says they have to work out their own situation. He returns to criticizing Kerr and Gregg Popovich, another critic, though he says Popovich seemed less scared of the subject.
Trump did not have anything to say about commissioner Adam Silver, Morey, or the NBA as a whole. That likely has to do with the fact that it’s been Kerr and Popovich who have been vocally critical of Trump in the past. It’s also worth noting that many Republicans have been very critical of the NBA’s response to the China issue, but Trump, to date, has only brought up the two head coaches.
For what it’s worth, Warriors guard Stephen Curry found the whole thing hilarious.
Steph Curry: “Just heard about the Trump thing. Gotta welcome Steve to the club.”
Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich are two of the finest coaches in the NBA, if not the world. They also happen to be wise in terms of how they handle leadership matters and political discussions. When others are too timid or unsure of what to say in response to certain issues, Kerr and Popovich frequently are there to speak out. That’s a large part of what has made them so popular in the sports world and beyond. That’s also what makes their responses — or lack of responses — to the Daryl Morey/NBA China situation so disappointing.
When asked about the matter on Monday, rather than go to bat for his colleague Daryl Morey, who supported those protesting in Hong Kong, Kerr said he did not want to talk about the matter because he was not knowledgeable enough about the subject. He called it a “bizarre international story.”
“It’s a really bizarre international story, and a lot of us don’t know what to make of it. So it’s something I’m reading about just like everybody is, but I’m not going to comment further than that,” Kerr said, via Golden State Warriors reporter Logan Murdock.
“What I’ve found is that it’s easy to speak on issues that I’m passionate about and that I feel like I’m well-versed on, and I’ve found that it makes the most sense to stick to topics that fall in that category,” he added. “So I try to keep my comments to those things, and so it’s not difficult. It’s more I’m just trying to learn.”
On Tuesday, Popovich was asked about the matter and offered his support for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“He’s been a heck of a leader in that respect and very courageous,” Popovich told reporters at the Spurs-Miami Heat preseason game Tuesday, via USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. “Compared to what we’ve had to live through the last three years, there’s a big difference gap there leadership-wise and courage-wise.”
Keep in mind that the NBA tailored a statement to China in which they called Morey’s support of Hong Kong protesters “inappropriate” and said they were “extremely disappointed” in the Rockets GM. Popovich could have supported Morey — a position I would have expected him to take based on the Spurs coach’s past support of individual rights. But he stood with Silver instead. And Kerr wriggled off the hook by feigning ignorance.
And they choose not to support Daryl Morey standing for democracy and freedom of speech — values they have championed in the past — when they had the opportunity? That’s very disappointing.
The league is preserving its business relationship with China. So is ESPN. Kerr and Popovich are doing the same. How much different does this make them from the NFL and the NFL’s owners, who wanted anthem protests to go away because it was also bad for business?
There are no two ways about it; China is a communist country. The fact that some think twice about criticizing China due to the country’s political spin tactics and actions against dissenters prove these truths. Supporting democracy, freedom of speech, and other first amendment rights — as Morey did — is not a partisan issue; it’s American right down to our constitution.
The fact that Kerr, Popovich, and others feel so comfortable issuing criticism in America but fear doing so about China helps prove why our country, despite some of its faults, is great. And if you support Kaepernick for standing up and expressing his beliefs against what he felt was wrong, you similarly should back Morey for doing the same. That’s what makes it disappointing that these two leaders chose not to.
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