Popovich, Restgate and Team USA

A side story of the San Antonio Spurs being fined for head coach Gregg Popvich resting four of his best players last Thursday against the Heat has to do with games that won't take place for another 18 months.  You see, Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski is likely not returning to coach Team USA for the 2014 FIBA World Cup or the the 2016 Olympics.  Pop was the runner up to Coach K in 2005 and would be an ideal candidate to replace Coach K in 2014.  At first glance, Pop's latest run-in with David Stern may have ruined his Team USA chances, but ESPN's Marc Stein writes that's not entirely the case.

My suspicion is that LeBron James, Kevin Durant and any other Team USA mainstay that (USA Basketball Chairman Jerry) Colangelo wants to survey for input would nominate Pop as their top candidate to take over. Such is the reverence around the league for how he has always put his players first, which has never been more evident than it is now through this very public fight with Stern in the name of keeping his stars fresh.

Stein goes on to write that it seems more important for Pop and Colangelo to squash any beef they have with one another stemming from Coach K's selection in 2005 in the aftermath of the disaster of the 2004 Olympics.  Back then, Colangelo said publically that Pop "wasn't as enthusiastic" as Coach K was about coaching Team USA, which apparently only enraged Pop.  According to Stein, Colangelo continues to call Pop his leading candidate if Coach K doesn't return and that sources close to Pop insist he wants the job.

If Colangelo is genuine about wanting to put aside any problems he and Pop had in the past, then I think Restgate won't matter too much in the grand scheme of things.  I think what will matter more is if Colangelo wants another college coach and also what the players want.  If you watched the Spurs-Heat last Thursday, you'll see that James and Dwyane Wade both sought out Pop after the final buzzer to wish him well and Pop had a cheerful exchange with James.  Colangelo says he hopes to have a head coach for 2014 in place this coming spring, most likely after the college basketball season ends, which means this situation probably won't have a resolution until April.