Jerry Colangelo wants Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to succeed him as the managing director of the United States men’s basketball national team after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Colangelo said on ESPN Radio’s Capital Games podcast Tuesday, in an interview that will air in its entirety next week, that his plan is for Krzyzewski to work with him in the next four years after Coach K steps down as the USA’s head coach following this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was selected to succeed Krzyzewski as Olympic coach for the 2020 games, starting with coaching the U.S. in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“Pop said to me, ‘I’ll do it under one condition, that you’re there. I don’t want to do it if you’re not going to be there.’ I committed to him to stay in my role through 2020, but that’s it for me,” said Colangelo, 76, who took over in 2005.
During Colangelo’s tenure, the Americans have won six FIBA titles, including gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“I want Coach K’s role after 2016 to be alongside me and get as much experience as he possibly can,” Colangelo said. “The real question mark is, how many more years will be coaching at Duke? I don’t think he would be able to handle or be eligible to serve in my capacity in USA Basketball if he’s still coaching.
“We’ll see what happens in these next four years. But if it were left to me, he would replace me at the appropriate time — sometime after 2020.”
Krzyzewski, 69, has a five-year contract that expires in 2020-21 and Duke athletic director Kevin White said last month he expects Coach K to finish the contract. Krzyzewski has said in the past that he wanted to stay involved in USA Basketball in some capacity after he steps down as head coach following the Rio Games.
Krzyzewski’s roster for Rio should be known “no later than June 27,” Colangelo said.
“We were advised some time ago that LeBron [James] would make his final decision post-playoffs,” Colangelo said. “What we’re doing right now is composing a couple of rosters: one with LeBron and one without LeBron. We won’t know until the Finals are over, and that could be a week or a week-and-a-half. And then we’ll be ready to pull the trigger.”
Colangelo said USA Basketball has been in touch with nearly everyone on the possible rosters and “we don’t expect any additional attrition due to injuries.”
“Our selection of 12 players is going to be really, really tough despite the fact that we’ve lost five [actually six] players to injuries,” Colangelo said. “We knew we would lose some.”
The remaining players under consideration are Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, Mike Conley, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kevin Durant, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Paul George, Draymond Green, James Harden, Gordon Hayward, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, DeAndre Jordan, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Kevin Love, Klay Thompson and Russell Westbrook.
Colangelo said USA Basketball is monitoring the ongoing Zika virus crisis in Brazil, as well as the political unrest. But he said the temperatures in Brazil during the Olympics shouldn’t be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, with temperatures in the 70s and low 50s at night.
“The mosquito situation is real,” Colangelo said of the Zika crisis. “But at this moment there is no direction coming toward us that you shouldn’t or you can’t go, or the Olympics are going to move. Nothing like that.
“It’s a matter of education and prevention. We are keeping our people well communicated. It’s all systems go. … We will take all the necessary precautions during our time there. We certainly hope and pray there are no issues.”
Colangelo said security won’t be an issue as Brazil goes through political turmoil. Brazil president Dilma Rousseff is under siege as the Brazilian senate tries to impeach her.
“We go way, way overboard,” Colangelo said. “We feel very confident. We’re there for a purpose. We’re not there to run on the beach. We’re there to bring back another gold medal. It’s all business.”