Sources: Team USA wants Coach K
USA Basketball will not name its next men's national team coach until after the college season is over at the earliest, according to sources familiar with the process.
One key motivation for adopting that revamped timetable, sources told ESPN.com, is to give Duke's Mike Krzyzewski as much time as possible to consider carrying on as Team USA coach.
Krzyzewski initially announced last summer that the London Olympics would be his swan song with Team USA.
USA Basketball officials, sources said, continue to hold out hope that Krzyzewski can be talked into one more tour in charge of the NBA stars who represent the United States at the highest levels of international competition.
Krzyzewski, 65, was hired by USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo in 2005 and has served as Team USA's coach in its last four major tournaments during his Duke offseasons.
USA Basketball's original plan called for the coaching situation to be clarified by late 2012 or early in 2013, with Colangelo expected to turn to San Antonio's Gregg Popovich or Boston's Doc Rivers if Krzyzewski held firm.
But sources told ESPN.com that optimism within the program was rising that Krzyzewski might ultimately prove willing to reconsider his stance that London was "the last time."
However, Krzyzewski told ESPN.com's Andy Katz this week that "nothing has changed with anything."
"(USAB) is not going to make a decision until the summer," Krzyzewski told Katz. "Nothing has changed with me. Usually in these situations, they don't do it while basketball season is going on. Nothing has changed. Right now, obviously -- I love USA Basketball -- but I'm trying to keep my head above water with my own team."
Colangelo's recruitment of Krzyzewski in 2005 helped spark a revival of the Americans' fortunes in major international competition after the disappointments of the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis (sixth place) and the 2004 Athens Olympics (bronze).
One source close to the situation described the prospect of Colangelo convincing his good friend to carry on as "absolutely" still his preferred scenario.
In a late November interview with ESPN.com, Colangelo revealed that he had not yet spoken to either of the two acknowledged favorites to succeed Krzyzewski -- Popovich or Rivers -- because he had not yet abandoned hope of getting the Duke legend to reconsider.
"I've had preliminary conversations with Coach K about the future," Colangelo said in November. "He has a really good team at Duke, and that's where his mind should be right now. I think he went through a very tiring experience in London and he made statements to that effect, but I think he was having early withdrawals a few weeks after he was home, which is typical when you're on such a high.
"He's such a big part of USA Basketball. We're so close, as close as can be, so I only want what's best for him. I really want to have some discussions with him that brings some finality to it. And we have haven't had those yet. So I'm waiting before speaking to other candidates. ... (Popovich and Rivers) are great coaches, both of them in their own right, and I think they would do an outstanding job, either one of them."
Colangelo was recently re-upped in his role as USAB chairman for the next four-year Olympic cycle, tasking him with picking the coach -- and then the players -- who will compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, as well as the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Other candidates that have been mentioned as possible successors to Krzyzewski, in addition to Popovich and Rivers, include Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins and Michigan State's Tom Izzo.
Since Krzyzewski's appointment in 2005, Team USA has a 62-1 record, which includes gold-medal triumphs in both Beijing in 2008 and London last summer sandwiched around a championship-winning run at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
The Americans could only finish third in Krzyzewski's first major tournament, but they've won 50 games in a row since that loss to Greece at the 2006 Worlds in Japan.
Krzyzewski has been a member of 12 different USAB coaching staffs dating to 1979 and is expected to join Colangelo's staff in an advisory role if he ultimately decides to leave the Team USA bench.
"I'm sure we can get him to come back," Team USA star Kevin Durant said of Krzyzewski last summer.