Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boheim are in, but Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan are out.
The Duke and Syracuse coaches will stay on (as head coach and assistant coach, respectively) board with Team USA, but both spots previously occupied by the said NBA coaches are now up for grabs.
Coach D’Antoni has reportedly cited the time commitment necessary as part of his reasoning for moving on, and Coach Krzyzewski noted that while coaching Team USA, he believed all coaches should be holding another job in the meantime too. McMillan is currently out of work, though it’s believed he’ll join an NBA team as head coach in time for next season.
In any event, two new coaches need to be reeled in for the gig(s), and it’s likely that an NBA coach will at least occupy one of those spots.
Recognizing some of the better coaches in the league, both the Celtics’ Doc Rivers and the Spurs’ Greg Popovich have been suggested as potential replacements for Krzyzewski when his tenure with Team USA comes to an end. Would being an assistant be worth either one’s time? Would it help their respective causes to proceed as head coaching successor? That remains to be seen.
Another talented man (with a strong resume) that is also often associated with a potential Team USA gig is veteran coach Doug Collins. In addition to having worked as a commentator for NBC Sports during the Olympics last season, Collins is currently no longer serving as head coach of the 76ers. By Krzyzewski’s standards, that would appear to take him out of the running.
Could all of this open the door for the Knicks’ Mike Woodson? Despite just coming off the utmost of premature playoff exits following his team’s second round loss to the Pacers, it’s easy to make the case for overall momentum still being in Woodson’s favor.
Leading New York to 54 wins this past season, securing the second seed in the Eastern Conference and helping the team win its first Atlantic Division title (not to also mention, a playoff series) all meant that Coach Woodson guided the Knicks to more success than they’ve accomplished in many years. He handled the pressures of coaching in one of the world’s biggest markets relatively well.
Clearly a players’ coach, Woodson is favored by everyone on his squad from A to Z. A defensive specialist, he has undeniably done wonders for the Knicks with regard to instilling a new culture. The team easily bought in to his firm defensive mentality. That same defensive intensity helped him win an NBA championship as an assistant with the Pistons.
Perhaps as an extra added bonus, Woodson did also spend some time in London last summer to be a part of the journeys of both Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. He’s committed to seeing his players succeed, and could be an interesting candidate to fill McMillan’s spot on the Team USA bench.
Of course, there are proven and/or up and coming coaches also deserving of consideration for a spot as well. The Pacers’ Frank Vogel, the Cavaliers’ Mike Brown, and the Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle would all
make interesting choices, among others.