HoopsHype Mike Fratello rumors

October 29, 2011 Updates

Mike Fratello: Disappointed owners/players couldn't reach an agreement this week. Can't stand to see the NBA missing games. Not good for anyone. Twitter

October 7, 2011 Updates
September 9, 2011 Updates

Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko — playing for Mike Fratello’s Ukrainian team at EuroBasket — was trying to body up D.J. Mbenga on the low block when his knee buckled and he fell to the ground in pain. (Follow this link to the video, if you want to see it.) It wasn’t a dirty play, just one of those things, but Fesenko went straight to the ground. Jazz blog SLC Dunk tweets it is a torn ligament and he will be out two months, we’re trying to get another report to confirm this (a report where we don’t need Google translate). This likely would involve surgery, but again we’re trying to find some more details. Fesenko was averaging just under 10 minutes a game for the Ukraine, giving them 5 points and 2 boards a game. NBCSports.com

September 6, 2011 Updates

Ukraine, having earned a late ticket into the European basketball championships when FIBA Europe expanded the field from 16 to 24, decided to look abroad for someone to head its challenge. Its federation's president already knew what Fratello could do from personal experience. Sasha Volkov played the first of his three NBA seasons under Fratello's watch in Atlanta, staying in touch even after their paths diverged. When the offer came, Fratello listened intently and became increasingly intrigued. "The attraction was, one, that it was an opportunity to coach a team, which I love. Two, it was an opportunity to coach in an international setting, in a EuroBasket, which I'd never done before," he said. "I've done many clinics in many countries but I've never coached in [an international] competition before." ESPN.com

There is no shortage of respect for Fratello among the coaching fraternity here. He was one of the first NBA coaches to regularly cross the Atlantic to trade wisdom with the new breed of European coaches who were eager to learn what they could from the men they had only previously watched, late at night, on TV. "He was the head coach in one of the first camps I attended as a young coach 30 years ago," said Spain coach Sergio Scariolo. "So he was one of my first teachers. I regret I'm not going to see him in Vilnius in the next round." ESPN.com

August 23, 2011 Updates
July 24, 2011 Updates

Ukraine coach Mike Fratello has begun preparing his squad for Eurobasket in Lithuania, by taking them to Klaipeda - where they will play their Group D games. The former Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies coach, turned TV analyst has taken the national team to Lithuania's third largest city to begin training camp. Not only will Ukraine train in Klaipeda, but they will also play their warm-up games there too, so that they can grow accustomed to the city situated at the mouth of the Nemunas River. "We go to work," Fratello said. "We put the system in, the offensive system, the defensive system. We try to play different combinations of people together so we can try and find out and get a feel for who the best groups are together and working towards our goal for the future." TalkBasket

June 30, 2011 Updates

Then-Cleveland coach Mike Fratello said goodbye to one version of Shawn Kemp in the summertime and said hello to a much-bigger version six months later, when the then-29-year-old who had signed a seven-year, $98 million deal in 1997 reportedly arrived at training camp weighing more than 300 pounds and was never the same in the years to come. With Thursday's news that a lockout is about to begin, Kemp is officially the cautionary tale that is now a concern for executives and coaches around the league in this restrictive and unforgiving labor landscape. "If you don't have veteran guys, the rookies are going to struggle [in a lockout]," said Brown, whose team improved in the lockout-shortened season and survived until the second round of the playoffs. "You have to have leadership that has everyone ready to go when the time comes because you can't afford to have guys playing into shape in training camp." SI.com

June 26, 2011 Updates

Adrian Wojnarowski: Two darkhorse names for Wolves job, based on history with GM: Mike Fratello and New Orleans assistant Bryan Gates, who won a D-League title. Twitter

May 8, 2011 Updates

Yet there's a greater context here that simply can't be forgotten. Before Gasol, there was Bryant twisting in the championship-less wind and a dire need for the sort of presence that he would eventually provide. And no matter how many times the joke is told about how his brother, Memphis' Marc Gasol, is playing the better basketball in these playoffs, it changes nothing of the fact that Gasol's arrival in Los Angeles via the trade from the Grizzlies was the reason the gold standard returned in Tinsel Town. "I got fired (during the 2006-06 season) because Pau Gasol broke his foot in the world championships (while playing for Spain in the summer of 2006), OK?" former Memphis coach Mike Fratello said by phone on Saturday night. "If Pau had not broken his foot and was healthy to come back, I might have had a chance to last that season...And when I was gone and he was traded, all I know is L.A. won a couple world championships. SI.com

"This (Gasol situation) sounds a little bit like what has happened to Derek Jeter in New York, where the guy is batting .250 and they wrote him off before the season even started and it's a guy who, to me, I would play Derek Jeter until the day he said, 'You know what, I'm tired and I don't want to play anymore.' Pau has helped that team win championships. He's having a bad stretch here, but how about the (championships) that they won? How many franchises in the NBA have won back to back championships? How many have (pushed to be in) to four straight NBA Finals?" SI.com

That's the "what" that shouldn't be forgotten, no matter how many times Gasol is on the losing end during this particular postseason. Maybe he's dealing with more than we realize. Maybe he's more fatigued, or even more injured, than we are aware. But what he's done in recent years has been good enough to warrant some good will, and understanding why things have changed is just not as important as remembering that this is, by definition, an aberration. "Is there an athlete who hasn't gone through a time when his numbers don't match what his max numbers have been?" Fratello said. "Take the greatest athlete -- whoever that might be -- and has there been a stretch that they've gone through where it didn't match the rest of the numbers? Isn't the greatness of a player judged over more than just a 10-day or 12-day period? We don't know what's going on in people's personal lives, or family lives." SI.com

March 29, 2011 Updates

The only plays Mike Fratello has drawn up lately have been as the Czar of the Telestrator, but that will change this summer. In what may be Fratello’s biggest professional challenge, the Hackensack native agreed to coach the Ukraine National Team in the European Championships in Lithuania. Ukraine has never qualified for the Olympics and is an extreme long shot for the 2012 Games. It didn’t qualify for the last two European Championships and has never finished higher than 13th. Ukraine has had little success in basketball since becoming independent after the dissolution of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. Bergen Record

But Fratello, 64, is excited about his first foray into international competition and hopes to help put Ukraine on the basketball map. "I was interested in something new that I’ve never done," said Fratello, an analyst for Nets games on the YES Network and the NBA on TNT. "I just thought at this time in my life, having never had the chance for that opportunity, it was kind of a wonderful challenge to see what you can do. "This program is trying to establish a base, a foundation to eventually [become a power]. They just haven’t had that. It’s been haphazard, hasn’t been run the right way. I think everybody wanted to make a commitment to do this thing the right way." Bergen Record

March 19, 2011 Updates
March 11, 2011 Updates

Fratello also weighed in on CryGate, with his view perhaps offering some insight, considering his closeness with Riley. “If Erik Spoelstra could have taken the statement back, he probably would have,” Fratello said. “He was trying to tell people that this team really cares, they do care about the fact that they lost five games in a row. “At that point, he may have said the wrong thing that he wishes he could take back. He’s not looking for sympathy. He’s all about his team. He was trying to defend his players and make people understand that this isn’t a group that is just shrugging off the loss of another game.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 27, 2011 Updates

Former Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello, 64, has agreed to coach Ukraine's national team at the European Championship this year. The Ukrainian Basketball Federation says it has a verbal agreement with Fratello, who has been working as an NBA television analyst for Turner Sports. The European Championship is scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 18 in Lithuania. Memphis Commercial Appeal

February 26, 2011 Updates
February 25, 2011 Updates

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