Paid to play … or not?
The NBA season isn’t even two weeks old and already teams — including Memphis with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley on Tuesday night at Target Center — are resting players.
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said, “It’s a little surprising. That’s not us.”
“Are guys really worn down already?” he said. “That’s up to each coach, each organization. Look, I’m not one to do it. Our guys get paid to play 82 games. Everybody that’s healthy for us will play for us every single night. But that’s just us.”
Forging Team USA
Former NBA executive Jerry Colangelo won’t continue for a third term as USA Basketball’s chairman, but he still will manage the national team.
“I think this has been part of the plan for a long time,” said Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, a U.S. assistant coach since 2013. “They’ve built Team USA to last. The pipeline is full at every level. It’s organized. It’s well thought-out. That’s what you get when you have strong leadership like that.”
When Thibodeau was asked if he’ll be able to continue with the U.S. team now that he has two titles with the Wolves, he said, “We’ll see, we’ll see.”
Paying their dues
Thibodeau, Denver’s Michael Malone and Charlotte’s Steve Clifford all coached on Jeff Van Gundy’s staff in the 2001-02 season, as did veteran head coach Don Chaney.
“I soaked up as much as I could from all those guys,” said Malone, son of longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone. “Thibs was a 19-year career assistant. He’d be around some great coaches. It was just a matter of time before he got his opportunity. You knew he was more than ready to lead his own team.”