Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski Joins NBA League Office

The NBA has added former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to its league office, announcing today in a press release that Krzyzewski has been hired as a special adviser to basketball operations (Twitter link).

In his new position in the league office, Krzyzewski will “provide counsel to the league office, NBA team executives, and other leaders across the league on a host of issues related to the game,” the league said in today’s announcement. He’ll be in attendance when the NBA’s general managers meet next week in Chicago.

An inductee into both the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Basketball Hall of Fame, Krzyzewski coached the men’s basketball team at Duke from 1980 to 2022. He won five national championships during that time, with the latest coming in 2015. The Blue Devils made the Final Four during Krzyzewski’s final season in 2022.

Krzyzewski also spent time as the head coach of Team USA’s men’s basketball squad, winning Olympic gold medals in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, and Rio De Janeiro in 2016.

Krzyzewski received a good deal of interest from NBA teams over the years, but always opted to remain at Duke. He’ll finally make the move to the NBA now, at age 76, but in the role of a league executive rather than the head coach of a franchise.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to deepen my connection to the NBA and participate in conversations about further strengthening the league and the game,” he said in a statement. “Even in my retirement from coaching, my passion for the sport has never been higher. This role will enable me to stay engaged with basketball at the highest level.”

And-Ones: Coach K, Fan Conduct, Williams-Goss, Coaching Candidates

Longtime Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski has decided to retire following the upcoming 2021/2022 college basketball season, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Coach K has helmed the Duke program since 1980, and has been key in ushering in the era of one-and-done college players and collegiate recruiting battles.

During his tenure as head coach, Krzyzewski led the team to five national titles and 12 Final Fours, and with two potential top freshman on next year’s roster in Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, he will look to end his storied career with one final title run.

Goodman also reports that assistant coach Jon Scheyer is the leading candidate to replace Krzyzewski. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that Scheyer is considered Duke’s coach-in-waiting.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • As fan-related incidents continue to occur around the league, the NBA has instituted new measures in an attempt to prevent fan misconduct, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. These policies include: encouraging teams/arenas to pursue legal recourse against such actions, enhanced security, and a “code of conduct” message to be broadcast multiple times throughout the game.
  • Former Jazz point guard Nigel Williams-Goss has agreed to a two-year deal with Real Madrid, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 6’2″ point guard played 15 games for PBC Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia this season, averaging 17 points and 5.9 assists while shooting 46% from three.
  • Although the Celtics are the only team with a head coach vacancy so far this summer, there are plenty of enticing first-time head coach options available, writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN. Among them: Patrick Ewing, Chauncey Billups, Will Weaver, and Darko Rajakovic. Arnovitz uses present success stories to detail what front offices are looking for in a first time head coach and what attributes can make them successful.
  • Now that the first season of the Basketball Africa League has ended and Egypt’s Zamalek has been crowned champions, the league is looking ahead and planning its 2022 season, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.  “The biggest triumph? Maybe it was just making it to reality,” BAL President Amadou Fall said, regarding the first season of the new league. “Just a long time coming and just being the culmination of many decades of work and engagement by the NBA across the continent, committed to growing the game. And now, it has established a complete pathway for basketball development from grassroots to elites and just league.” Those in and around the league are hoping that as the BAL grows, it will attract more and more viewers and participants from around the country. Though none of the players this season are expected to draw attention from NBA teams, Fall expects that to change soon. “This is the first time that this league is here,” Zamalek’s Walter Hodge said upon receiving the Hakeem Olajuwon MVP award. “And it’s going to be here for a long time.”

And-Ones: FIBA, Turkey, Coach K, NBA Transactions

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will be held that summer from August 25 to September 10, according to a FIBA press release. The group phase of World Cup 2023 will be played in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, with the final phase taking place in the Philippine capital city of Manila. It will be the first time the competition has been staged in more than one country. Spain defeated Argentina in the finals of last year’s Cup, which was held in China.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Turkey became the latest country to cancel the remainder of its basketball season. Former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu, the basketball federation’s president, officially announced the cancellation of BSL and TBL seasons, according to Alessandro Maggi of Sportando.
  • Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski turned down numerous offers over the years to become an NBA coach, Sportando’s Nicola Lupo relays. In an interview on WIP radio, the Duke coach said he turned down the Sixers job in 2003, the Celtics in 1990 and the Lakers in 2005.
  • The Warriors’ signing of Kevin Durant, the Spurs’ draft-night acquisition on Kawhi Leonard and the Rockets’ trade for James Harden rank as the biggest and best transactions over the past decade, according to ESPN Insiders. A list of 74 major moves was compiled by ESPN’s NBA experts.

Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Kanter, De La Rosa

In the wake of Frank Ntilikina‘s impressive performance in France’s World Cup upset of Team USA, a series of New York beat writers and columnists are making the case that Ntilikina – the subject of trade rumors earlier this year – has earned a longer look from the Knicks this season.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News argues that the Knicks should exercise Ntilikina’s $6.2MM team option for the 2020/21 season (a decision is due on October 31) and give him a real chance to earn a role for this year’s squad. One scout suggests to Ian Begley of SNY.tv that Ntilikina is playing in the World Cup with a poise and confidence that he hasn’t showed yet in the NBA — if that confidence carries over training camp, it could bode well for his future in New York.

Meanwhile, Frank Isola of The Athletic writes that Knicks president Steve Mills hasn’t given up on Ntilikina despite the fact that the club has brought in several other point guards to compete for minutes. Elfrid Payton and other previous backcourt additions like Trey Burke are considered “[Scott] Perry guys,” says Isola, referring to New York’s general manager.

As we wait to see what the Knicks’ plan for Ntilikina is, let’s round up a few more notes on the team:

  • The differing opinions on Ntilikina within the Knicks’ organization aren’t unusual, given the organization’s current management structure, says Isola. League sources tell The Athletic that some of the scouts and executives brought in by Perry have clashed with the scouts and executives who worked under Mills and remain in the organization. “That’s always been the case,” a former Knicks exec tells Isola. “They keep a lot of people from different regimes and that causes some friction.”
  • After suggesting earlier this week that the Knicks’ ownership group is a deterrent for the team’s potential free agent targets, Enes Kanter clarified that he personally had a positive experience with James Dolan and doesn’t agree with players who avoid the team for that reason, tweets Begley.
  • Former Illinois big man Adonis De La Rosa is among the players working out with the Knicks this week in the hopes of securing a training camp invite from the team, a source tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • Knicks head coach David Fizdale issued an invite to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski to make an appearance at the team’s training camp this fall, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes. Coach K isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be able to attend, but said he expects former Blue Devil RJ Barrett to make a smooth transition to playing in New York.

And-Ones: Age Limit, Watson, Loyd, Overseas Signings

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is calling on the NCAA to develop a plan in response to the NBA’s expected rule change that would lower the draft eligibility age from 19 to 18, relays Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBA has submitted a proposal to its players union that would make the change effective in 2022.

“The NCAA is not prepared right now,” Krzyzewski said. “They need to be in concert with the NBA in developing a plan that is specific for men’s college basketball. And that should include what an athlete gets, how he’s been taken care of, whether or not there’s a re-entry if something – really, it’s deep. And if we only look at it shallow, then we’re doing a disservice to the kids. And that’s why I would hope that the NCAA has someone leading this to figure it all out.”

Krzyzewski asked whether the G League would start attracting blue-chip players and providing more competition for college basketball and how the NCAA will adapt once the one-and-done rule is gone. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo shared some of the same concerns and worried that too many players will be pressured to turn pro before they’re ready.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Former Suns coach Earl Watson has interviewed for the head coaching position at UCLA, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. A former Bruins player, Watson was fired by Phoenix three games into last season. Schultz reports that longtime college and NBA coach Larry Brown would join Watson as a top assistant.
  • Jordan Loyd is this year’s 2 Ways & 10 Days pick for NBA G League MVP, writes Adam Johnson. He’s the second straight player from the Raptors 905 to claim the honor, following Lorenzo Brown‘s MVP season in 2017/18. Loyd is playing on a two-way contract and has appeared in 10 games at the NBA level.
  • Three players with NBA ties have signed contracts overseas. Hollis Thompson, who played four NBA seasons and was with the Pelicans two years ago, is joining Crailsheim Merlins in Germany, according to Emiliano Carchia of SportandoXavier Rathan-Mayes, who appeared in five games for the Grizzlies late last season, has signed with Bnei Herzelia in Israel, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Brad Newly, whose rights are owned by the Lakers, has signed with Sydney in Australia, Smith adds (Twitter link). Newly was drafted in 2007, but has never played in the NBA.

Frank Jackson Declares For Draft

Frank Jackson has declared for the draft but has not hired an agent, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune reports. The point guard will wait until after the pre-draft process before making a final decision on whether to stay in the draft or return to Duke.

Jackson’s father, Al, told Jones that had his son’s experience at the school was the only reason Jackson hasn’t hired an agent yet. “If he had gone anywhere else, we wouldn’t have had to struggle with this decision. Frank would’ve been a one-and-done player with no doubt,” Al Jackson said.

He added that he had a positive conversation coach Mike Krzyzewski about his son’s decision to test the waters. “The door is definitely open for Frank to return,” Al Jackson said. “Frank still may very well go back.”

The elder Jackson said he has received feedback from sources within the NBA, many of which have expressed interest in his son. “It’s clear to us enough teams consider Frank an NBA player,” Al Jackson said. “He has superior athleticism, he has high character and he has a high basketball IQ.”

The 19-year-old Jackson is the 45th best prospect in the upcoming draft, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. He averaged 10.9 points and 1.7 assists in 24.9 minutes per game during his lone season at Duke.

Jones adds that the prospect is a native of Utah and has long been a fan of the Jazz. Jackson is hoping for a pre-draft workout with the organization and he also hopes to be invited to the pre-draft combine, which takes place in Chicago in May.

And-Ones: Krzyzewski, Griffin, Simmons, Patterson

Mike Krzyzewski desperately wants to win his final game as coach of Team USA, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Krzyzewski demonstrated he is putting victory over player egos by pulling DeMarcus Cousins from the starting lineup in Friday’s semifinal against Spain and inserting defensive specialist DeAndre Jordan. Voisin also suggests that the closeness of many of this year’s game displays the need for a different philosophy in picking players. Krzyzewski, whose team will face Serbia in Sunday’s gold medal game, has an 82-1 record and two gold medals since taking over as Team USA coach in 2005. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will assume control of the team after the Olympics are done.

There’s more tonight from around the world of basketball:

  • Former D-League All-Star Eric Griffin, who will reportedly play in Israel next season, has a buyout clause that allows him to sign with an NBA team, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Griffin was recently cleared of an attempted murder charge in Florida, and his agent contends the case cost him a chance to play in the summer league.
  • Ben Simmons is the rookie most likely to make an impact in the NBA from the beginning, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Blancarte picks the No. 1 draft choice because of his combination of court vision, size, athleticism and opportunity. Simmons is expected to take control of the Sixers’ offense right away. Others on Blancarte’s list, in order, are the Timberwolves‘ Kris Dunn, the Sixers‘ Joel Embiid and Dario Saric and the Pelicans‘ Buddy Hield.
  • After being claimed off waivers by the Kings, one of Lamar Patterson’s concerns was whether he could bring his pet alligator, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. His mother had been watching the creature while he played for the Hawks because he couldn’t keep it as a pet in Georgia. Jones found that California only allows pet gators if a special permit is obtained.

Southwest Notes: Gasol, Kalamian, D’Antoni, Thomas

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who missed the end of the season after breaking his foot in February, is still very limited physically and may have to skip the Olympics, he said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper As (hat tip to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). “I’m not going to lie; it’s very difficult,” Gasol said. “The training camp starts in less than a month and I still can’t run.” Gasol has been part of the Spanish national team since 2006 and won silver medals at the Olympics in both 2008 and 2012. It’s too early to say whether the injury will affect Gasol’s participation in Memphis’ training camp, which will start in late September.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • In the same interview, Gasol remains convinced that his brother should join the Spurs. Pau Gasol has a player option with the Bulls for next season worth less than $7.77MM, which he is expected to turn down. He has said the idea of going to San Antonio is intriguing and it’s one of the spots he considered during free agency two summers ago. “I think that the Spurs are the best option for him,” Marc Gasol said. “What that franchise represents, their winning culture, how they treat players. Everything is great there.”
  • The Rockets and Wizards are trying to lure Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. New coaches Mike D’Antoni in Houston and Scott Brooks in Washington are both working hard to add Kalamian to their staffs, but Dwane Casey wants to keep him in Toronto. James Harden is reportedly a fan of Kalamian, who was an assistant in Oklahoma City when Harden broke in with the Thunder (Twitter link).
  • Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski likes D’Antoni’s chances of succeeding with the Rockets, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Krzyzewski, who hired D’Antoni as part of his USA Basketball staff, thinks D’Antoni and Harden will be an effective pairing. “When you have plays and reads, it’s the best combination,” Krzyzewski  said. “It’s especially good if you have a special player, and they do in James. It will be interesting to see how that develops because James is not just a really good scorer; James is a heck of a passer. Who knows what their roster will be next year, but it will start with James.”
  • Adonis Thomas attended the Rockets‘ free agent camp and plans to be at similar events for the Spurs and Jazz, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. The 6’7″ small forward, who played for the Magic and Sixers during 2013/14, started last year with the D-League’s Grand Rapids Drive but was released in December with a season-ending wrist injury.

Gregg Popovich To Become Team USA Coach

Spurs coach/president Gregg Popovich will succeed Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of Team USA, as USA Basketball announced via press release. He’ll retain his Spurs duties but expand his role with the national team once Krzyzewski steps down following the 2016 Olympics. Popovich served Team USA in the past as an assistant coach from 2002-04.

“I’m extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent our country as the coach of the USA National Team,” Popovich said in the USA Basketball statement. “What the program has accomplished over the last decade under the leadership of [USA Basketball Chairman] Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski is truly impressive. I will do my utmost to maintain the high standards of success, class and character established by Jerry, Coach K and the many players who have sacrificed their time on behalf of USA Basketball.”

Popovich, 66, will serve through the 2020 Olympics, and Colangelo, 75, will remain in his job through then, too, but it’s unclear if either will stay with USA Basketball beyond that. Krzyzewski, who confirmed earlier this week that he’s stepping down next year, will remain with the program as a special adviser.

Today’s news is no surprise, as a coaching source had told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that Popovich was the No. 1 choice for the job, though the swift timing of the announcement, almost a year before the transition will take place, was unexpected. He’ll have to balance his Team USA duties with coaching as well as his front office capacity as president of Spurs basketball, though GM R.C. Buford has long taken a leading role in personnel decisions.

Do you think Popovich should be taking the Team USA job, or should he simply focus on the Spurs? Leave a comment to let us know.

And-Ones: Krzyzewski, Ennis, Lakers, Bulls

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski will step down from his national team duties after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as he told Andy Katz of ESPN.com. The news is not surprising, since Krzyzewski had originally wanted to step away after the 2012 Games. He didn’t indicate a preference for any specific successor but said he’d like to see a coach experience with international competition step into the position.

“I think it’s time to move ahead. During the next season there will be a number of decisions made about the future of USA Basketball with Rio [the roster] and coaching,” Krzyzewski said to Katz. “There has to be a succession … a planned succession with really good people so we can keep the continuity of the program going.”

While we wait to see if the next USA Basketball coach has NBA ties, here’s the latest from around the league:

  • At least other two teams have interest in James Ennis of the Heat, scouts have told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, which complicates matters for Miami as it debates keeping Ennis for opening night, when his non-guaranteed salary would become fully guaranteed, Winderman notes.
  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has said he believes his team has more assets it could throw into trades than it had last season, but people around the league are pessimistic on what the Lakers can offer, as Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com details. In any case, the Lakers player with the greatest trade value is D’Angelo Russell, according to the consensus of the insiders who spoke with Holmes.
  • New Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg hasn’t observed any tension between stars Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose and is confident they can mesh on the floor, as Hoiberg tells Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times recently heard from a source who said Butler was frustrated with the point guard’s approach to the game. “I think they’ve got a very good relationship and that’s from sitting down and talking to both of them individually, talking to them together,” Hoiberg said. “There’s no issue there. I think those two would be the first to tell you that everything that’s been reported out there is not true. I think it could be one of the most dynamic, best backcourts in the league. I think those two play very well off each other.”