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While players like LeBron James and Paul George have not publicly committed to playing in the Olympics, Colangelo said he’s not concerned. Players who wanted to be part of the selected process were required to be at camp in Las Vegas last summer, and all 34 showed. “That was a pretty good sign that everyone wanted to at least keep their options open,” he said. “The beauty of having a roster as deep as we do – people basically are saying, how are you going to pick 12? How could you leave off certain people? Well, some of that takes care of itself. We’re not looking for commitments, and quite honestly if there were a few who decided not to participate it makes my job a lot easier.”
Asked how close he is to knowing the 12-man roster already, Colangelo said: "I play that game in my own mind almost every day. And it changes every other day in my mind. We've got so many great players and they all want to participate. We may be in for a surprise or two at the end of the day, where someone is not going to make themselves available, but because of the depth on this roster, we could take a few hits and still be in great shape."
"So I'm just keeping all my options open. And I'm interested always to hear other people's opinions, but you can trust me: I'll make the final decision based on what I think is right for us in conjunction with Coach K and our staff ... what's the best 12 to put us in the best position to be successful? And I'll go right back to something we said many years ago. It's not an All-Star team. It's: 'Let's put a group together that puts us in this best position to win.'"
Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball, said he is confident Mike Krzyzewski will coach the Americans in Rio. “He should be OK. We’re told that it’s going to be a non-issue. We didn’t know the exact status, but that’s the latest status for sure,” he said at the U.S. Olympic Committee's media summit Wednesday. “He’s committed. He doesn’t feel he has any issue whatsoever. He’ll get through the surgery and he’ll be fine.”
As for Krzyzewski, who is making his coaching farewell with the national team in Rio before ceding the position to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and moving into an advisory role for the 2019 World Cup in China and 2020 Tokyo Games, Colangelo said: "Coach K is going to be my assistant in all that we do, so he stays involved."
As with 2004 in Athens, Team USA plans to house its players in Brazil from both the men's and women's basketball teams on a cruise ship docked in Rio to ensure maximum security. "We have sent our people [to Rio] on four or five occasions," Colangelo said. "We have researched everything we could on accommodations. And we made our decision as to what we're going to do. Bear in mind that, since '92, [USAB's] basketball teams haven't stayed in the Olympic Village. Also bear in mind that basketball is one of only two sports that runs the entire length of the Olympic [Games]."
"Because of the high visibility of our athletes, we're better served by [going] above and beyond what the Olympic people provide for us in the way of security and so forth. We do our own things to make sure we've protected our people. There's a big investment here that we'll have in Rio. ... We will not be in the Village, but our players will be in there a lot, like they have been in the last two Olympics."
Colangelo told ESPN that, to this point, he hasn't "heard one question from any of our players" raising concerns about the Zika virus or the widely reported water issues in the host country that have received increasing media coverage in recent months. "First of all, we feel very confident that we're being taken care of, in the sense that the different organizations who are dealing with this health issue or problem are doing everything they possibly can," Colangelo said.
Carmelo Anthony has visions of winning an unprecedented third Olympic gold medal this summer in Brazil, and isn’t concerned that his knee will prevent him from playing. Anthony, who has experienced soreness in his surgically repaired left knee this season, believes he will be fine and will be able to commit to playing in a record fourth Olympics for the men’s national team. “I want to go,” Anthony said. “I look forward to being a part of that. Not too many people can say they played in four Olympics and have a chance to win three gold medals. Not too many people can say that. To me that’s the way I look at it and the way I approach the Olympics.”
Colangelo said he has "not really" had conversations with Krzyzewski about possibly stepping aside before the Olympics and that "We're not at that stage at all. I do know that his intention is the day after his Duke season is over is to have his knee replaced. It's killing him right now. But that's just one facet of his health circumstances. We'll cross that bridge. Certainly in the back of my mind I'm thinking about what ifs. But it would be, I think, inappropriate and out of place to even discuss it."
Pressed if he has a plan in mind if Krzyzewski cannot coach in Rio, Colangelo said: "I think so. But, again, I think it's too early to get into that. As we get closer and it appears that there's a prospect that he may not be able to or chooses not to, that's a whole different story. But let's not be premature on that."
Lillard was initially left off the 30 player pool after being soured on the experience before but was added as player 31 on Wednesday. The path back to Team USA began with an impromptu visit from Men’s National Team Director Sean Ford. During the Blazers recent home stand, Lillard met with Ford, who carried with him a message. “He just said they wanted me to be a part of it still,” Lillard said before Wednesday’s game against Houston. “I chose to remove myself from it and they respected that. I knew down the line I still wanted to be a part of it.”
“Going into it I won’t have that on my mind and on my heart,” Lillard said of the bad feelings. “I’ll go into it with good intensions and I’ll go into it with the right things on my mind. Like I said I’m just happy I’ll have an opportunity going forward.” Lillard admits that going to Rio is probably a long shot, citing the many players who’ve put in more time with the USA Basketball program. “It would be great to be there this year,” Lillard said. “There’s a lot of guys that have spent a lot more time with Team USA than I have so we’ll see.”
Brian Mahoney: Damian Lillard added to USA Basketball roster pool. Gives Americans 31 players for 12 spots in Rio.
Cousins and Kings forward Rudy Gay were among the 30 finalists announced by USA Basketball for its 2016 Olympic roster. The list will be condensed to a 12-man roster that will compete at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. “It’s always an honor to play for the USA teams; it’s not a chance everybody gets,” Cousins said. “Hopefully I’ll make the team and I’m in Rio this summer.”
“It’s good to still be in the running,” Gay said after practice Monday. “There’s a lot of great players that aren’t on that list. It’s just good to be noticed.”
USA Basketball announced this week that the Jazz small forward is among 30 American players who have made the cut to be considered for the Rio Games in Brazil this summer. "It’s been a goal of mine and something I've been working towards and putting in the time, going in the summers," Hayward said. "(They) still have to get it down to 12, but it’s definitely good to be one of the finalists."
And while Lillard said the news of his exclusion was expected, Plumlee admitted he was a bit surprised he didn't earn an invitation to try out. The Blazers' starting center has played for Team USA each of the last two summers, competing on the 12-man group that won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and earning an invite to the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp.
"Any time I go into a situation I want to have a real opportunity," he said. "If I'm going to invest myself in something, I want to have a real opportunity in that. Last time I did that, I felt the decision was already made before the decision was made. Whether I played good or bad, I felt like it didn't matter."
The All-Star point guard doesn't expect to make the cut. "It's an honor, a humbling experience to be invited as one of the 30 people to be there," said Wall, who at first gave a blank stare and rolled his eyes at the question. "A good opportunity to represent your country. Nothing is more important than that. You put everything aside, your name and (the NBA team) you play for. You're playing for your whole country."
The length of his NBA season and how he feels after it will impact his decision, James said, although he called it “ridiculous” to believe the Cavs will automatically play into June. Asked about the importance of a victory over the Warriors on Monday in anticipation of a June reunion, James laughed. “We only want to focus on today and for us to have any sense of entitlement about June is absurd to me,” he said. “As far as what the future holds, we don’t know.”
Bryant made the announcement in Salt Lake City before the Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz. He has informed USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski, saying it's time for others to enjoy the Olympic journey. "Since my retirement announcement, I'm able to watch these guys in a different light," said Bryant, a gold medalist in 2008 and 2012. "I've come to terms with the fact that they are the future of this game. These are the guys who deserve the spots in Rio. These are the guys who people need to watch and root for. These are the guys to show fans where this game is going in the future."
Jody Genessy: Kobe Bryant will not pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympics team. "I think it's the young guys' turn to go. ... I've had my moment."
Colangelo on Bryant’s interest … “When I was approached originally about Kobe’s interest in potentially playing in the Olympics — this goes back early last summer, I guess, or spring — and the concept being that it would be great to end a career, win a gold medal and ride off into the sunset. That was just thrown my way by his agent, Rob Pelinka. I just took it in and I said, ‘Rob, I don’t rule anyone out, but it has got to be based on performance because there’s so many people who want (to be on the team) — everyone wants to be on the roster.’ So he says, ‘Well, absolutely, and that’s how Kobe feels. He wants to earn it.’ Well then a month later, the two of us were in New York at an NBA function, and Kobe and I had a chance to visit, and we talked about the same thing. He reiterated his interest, but also the fact that he didn’t want any gifts, that he wanted to — if he wasn’t capable of earning it, by his performance, then that was that.
“So just recently, with his announcement of retirement, some people have come back to me (on the topic). Nothing has changed for me. Again, the same criteria exists, which is (a player’s performance) this season. So we’ll just look at this season. And I know where he has struggled, and it’s not the same…but there are some people having really outstanding years.”
Colangelo on sacrificing a spot for Bryant based largely on the sentimental component and the fact that a) the 12th man won’t play much and b) Team USA will be heavily favored to win gold regardless of who fills that spot … “Let’s just put it this way: on one hand, you have what you just proposed. On the other hand, if someone is left off the team, like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George — and I’m just using names — for that purpose, then you have to weigh that fairness, to some degree. That’s all. So it’s not an easy call, and it’s one that I don’t have to make for quite some time. And I’m going to stick to that. I’ve got plenty of time. With out further ado ...
As covered recently in this space, Bryant says he doesn’t have any plans to satiate his fans abroad by playing a season in Italy or China when he’s done with the NBA. But playing in the Olympics could serve as that farewell to the international basketball public, which Bryant addressed in a Friday morning visit on ESPN Radio with Mike and Mike, saying: “Obviously I grew up overseas and have seen basketball grow globally. It’s come so far, so fast. (I) would love nothing more to be in an international environment and be around so many other great athletes one more time. That being said, it’s not something I’m obsessing over, either, because I’ve got to listen to my body, too. If my body can’t do it, there’s no sense in doing it. So God willing, hopefully, if they feel I can make a significant contribution and my body is up for it ... if that’s the case then I would love to play.”
Bryant remains in contention for a spot on Team USA's 12-man roster for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN's Marc Stein. Colangelo said Bryant's announcement "doesn't have any bearing" on the star guard's status for the Rio Games. "We have this whole season to look at all of our players," Colangelo said Sunday. Even before he publicly confirmed this season will be his last, Bryant said earlier this month that playing in Rio, which would give him an opportunity to win a third gold medal after triumphs in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, has great appeal to him. "It would mean the world to me to be around those guys," Bryant told the Associated Press earlier this month.
Andy Larsen: Derrick Favors told us that the USA Basketball snub from this summer still drives him to work on his game, "go against certain guys". Also, Favors told us that that was his first win in Atlanta, which surprised me. Jazz had lost 4 straight there until Sunday.
Bryant said Monday that he still wants to be part of the team that USA Basketball will send to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, a tournament that theoretically could mark the end of his competitive basketball career if he retires at the conclusion of this NBA season. Bryant helped the U.S. win gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Games. "It would mean the world to me to be around those guys," Bryant said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it's just us being together, that would be fun."
"I would like to play," Bryant said. "I think it'd be awesome. A beautiful experience. I'm a global kid. I grew up in Italy, I know a lot of athletes from different parts of the world, from different sports. It'd be great to play in that environment."
San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich was announced on Friday as head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team for 2017-2020. During practice on Sunday, Van Gundy was asked about it, and whether he would accept an assistant coaching role should Popovich ask him. "I think anyone would," Van Gundy said. "No. 1 to work for him, and to No. 2 do anything for your country. So yeah, but I don't expect it. There are other people who have been in the national program, are great coaches and should get those assignments. But I was really happy it was an NBA coach and I was really happy that it was Pop." He said Duke coach Mike Kryzewski, whose tenure as coach of the U.S. team ends following the 2016 Olympics in Rio, has done "a hell of a job."
Mark Woods: No confirmation from Pop on how - or if - he will coach USA during NBA season. Still would suggest possibility he see Spurs ending.
Just over a year ago in Chicago, Gregg Popovich raised the question with commissioner Adam Silver at the annual NBA coaches meeting: How did the USA Basketball national coaching job turn into a lifetime appointment for a college coach? "Isn't an NBA coach good enough to coach NBA players?" is one of the queries to Silver that peers in the room remembered Pop asking of the commissioner. Pop offered several candidates, including Doc Rivers, as deserving of a chance to coach the Olympic team. All around Pop, NBA head coaches nodded with agreement. Popovich never offered his own name, though. Popovich had once wanted the job, but would never campaign now – and truthfully never thought it possible as long as Jerry Colangelo was running USA Basketball. Popovich and Colangelo had a nine-year cold war that started to thaw with a telephone call in March, league sources told Yahoo Sports on Friday.
Months of consideration ensued for Popovich, including a full day of face-to-face conversations between Colangelo and him in July, league sources said. Through the years, so much had happened to push them far apart. They had been part of a nasty Suns-Spurs rivalry, and Colangelo's longstanding, close partnership with David Stern had done little to ease Popovich's suspicions about him.
Now, Popovich will take over the USA National program in 2017 and players will love the idea of performing for him. Krzyzewski will finish his third tour as the national coach in 2016, and stay on as a "special adviser," which loosely translated means this: Krzyzewski will still have the access and influence to use USA Basketball's junior national teams to leverage his Duke recruiting. High school players committing to Duke understand they have a preferred path to making those under-18 and -19 rosters competing in international tournaments.
Marc Stein: Fascinating questions remain, tho, because the whole qualifying structure for international play, remember, soon changes to soccer's format. Qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in China will happen DURING the NBA season. Pop & NBA players won't be leaving their teams for qualifying
Arash Markazi: Jerry Colangelo will continue through 2020 as USA's Managing Director with Mike Krzyzewski serving in a Special Advisory Role through 2020.
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo says the next head coach of USA Basketball is likely to come from the NBA. In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Colangelo said that the “odds are that it will be a professional coach.”
The University of Kentucky coach is not only actively involved with Colangelo's beloved Basketball Hall of Fame, but also has gone out of his way to raise money for it. Of course, Calipari has complained on occasion about Krzyzewski having an unfair recruiting advantage as the USAB head coach, but one person familiar with Calipari's motives said he views the opportunity as "the recruiting tool of all recruiting tools." Another source, who is plugged into the USA Basketball program, said "Calipari wants it bad."
Who replaces Krzyzewski as the on-court conductor and how much longer Colangelo, 75, will stay on as managing director, are important issues for both USA Basketball and the NBA (which, essentially, are one in the same). According to several people with close ties to the program and the coaching industry, here are some logical successors to Coach K: Gregg Popovich: The Spurs' five-time champion coach is "clearly, unquestionably the No. 1 choice," according to a person involved in the coaching business. "There really is no second place." Not only is he the most accomplished and respected current NBA coach, but Pop also checks several other boxes that Krzyzewski and Colangelo will no doubt consider in identifying possible successors. (Yes, both men will have most, if not all the say in who gets this gig.)
But working heavily in Pop's favor is a feeling among NBA head coaches that it's time for one of them to take the reins from Krzyzewski. "They've become very territorial about this," the coaching industry source said. Two caveats to keep in mind: Popovich's long-ago rivalry with Colangelo's Phoenix Suns, and the fact that Pop may be looking for Colangelo to roll out the red carpet -- which isn't Colangelo's style.
Rick Carlisle: He's an NBA champion as a player and as a coach and president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. One coaching industry source called Carlisle "a dark horse" for Krzyzewski's job, but he might be more than that. "He's played the political game better than anyone," the person said.
What about one of the most accomplished international head coaches ever, Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt? "He won't get it," one of people connected to the USAB program said. Colangelo and Coach K, the person said, are not fans.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN that the 2016 Olympics will be his last coaching the United States men's basketball national team, and that a succession plan to replace him will be announced in the coming year before the Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer. "It is. It definitely is,'' Krzyzewski told ESPN about this being his last stint as head coach with USA Basketball. "I think it's time to move ahead. During the next season there will be a number of decisions made about the future of USA Basketball with Rio [the roster] and coaching.
“Back in ’04 as I watched where we were, USA Basketball, some of the other countries really had togetherness, like Argentina, like Spain. That was something I thought we needed to develop. So developing a national team concept, stating that we had to change our culture and to see where we are, it makes you feel very good. There was a plan. Right now we’re on a roll.” Colangelo said USA Basketball is seeking sites to play five “friendly” games before going to Rio de Janeiro. He is heading to the Olympic city and said he is concerned about the playing conditions just 11 months before the start of the Games.
"I always said you never shut the door entirely on anyone. I mean, why? To prove what? Was I disappointed Derrick [Rose] wasn't here? Sure. Because, we want the best for him. We want the best for him. We want him to get back to the level that he once was. So let's just see how things go in the future."
"I was quoted on Kobe," Colangelo said after USA Basketball's intrasquad scrimmage at the Thomas & Mack Center. "In response to a question about him, I said it would be a great story if he did [play in Rio]. "And so, he also mentioned to me in a private conversation that if he had his druthers, he would love to ride off into the sunset playing one more time and winning the gold medal. And that would be the end. But he was very quick to say, 'But, I don't want a spot. I need to earn the spot. I need to be capable of playing at that level to be considered.' And I said, 'You got that. That's always there for you, Kobe.'"
Carmelo Anthony didn’t leave town without waxing eloquent about his Olympic reunion with LeBron James and Chris Paul at the Team USA minicamp. He spoke more boldly about winning big next August in Rio de Janeiro than at the Garden this season. “We talk about it all the time,’’ Anthony said of winning another gold medal with James and Paul. “Just about how we want to go out and end it the next year with the Olympics, just how much we want to take from this experience. I’m going on four [Olympics], LeBron is going on four. Paul going for three. We’re connected by the hip.’’
While Rose's decision to opt out of Team USA competition may benefit him in the future as he continues to build his confidence back up, his playing career for the national team appears to be over. While Colangelo didn't come out and say it, Rose's absence, combined with injury concerns, and the talent pool within USA Basketball which includes guards like, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul, all of whom were in attendance Tuesday, indicates that Rose's time with Team USA is over. "Anyone who's not here, who had been invited, which was not mandated, but it was a request and mandatory to be here to be considered going forward -- those who made a choice not to, I respect, but then we have to move on," Colangelo said.
Team USA director Jerry Colangelo acknowledged he initially thought Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was coming to the group's minicamp that began Tuesday. "We were advised he was coming," Colangelo said. "Maybe a week-and-a-half ago or so, and then the speculation that he might not [surfaced] ... obviously he made a decision and I respect that. I respect that."
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has been excused from the rest of this week's USA Basketball minicamp after spending Monday with the team, according to USAB sources. Sources told ESPN.com that George attended both a team meeting Monday night as well as a one-on-one sitdown with Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, thus satisfying a mandate from USAB managing director Jerry Colangelo that any player who wants to be considered for the 2016 Olympic team must show himself in Vegas. But sources say George -- who was always expected by USAB officials to sit out this week's two light workouts as well as Thursday night's intrasquad scrimmage -- was spared the chore of being forced to watch Tuesday's noncontact session from the sideline and then face the media hordes in attendance.
Krzyzewski, meanwhile, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that recent NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala remains firmly under consideration for a spot on the Rio squad after helping Team USA to gold medals at both the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey and the 2012 Summer Games in London. Iguodala recently got married and ‎was prepared to postpone his honeymoon to come to this week's USAB events, but Krzyzewski told him to stick with that schedule. Iguodala would have given the newly-crowned champion Golden State Warriors a league-high five USA Basketball participants this week had he joined Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes. "He's been a prince for us," Krzyzewski said of Iguodala.
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It speaks to both the Lakers’ historical relevance and standard of excellence as well as their current level of talent that Anthony feels this way. He clearly knows how good of a shot they have, no matter how “old” the veteran-laden roster is: “You’ve got to change your way of thinking, you’ve got to change your perspective… Being out there at this point in time of my career, we hear all of it. We hear that ‘they old’ and ‘the senior citizen home for basketball,’ but we just know what we bring to the game and what we bring to the table. And I say we’re wiser. Like we’re wise. We’re not old. 37 is young, 36 is young, it’s only old in the sports world, the basketball world. So like LeBron said, like other guys said, just watch and see. And I think people will enjoy the show.”
Now, with his real and best shot at a title in front of him, he’s putting the pressure back on himself and his talented cast of teammates to get it done (via “The Daily Show”): “There’s nothing that I’m trying to prove. If I hadn’t picked L.A., I would have been at peace walking away from the game, knowing that I gave everything I could and I still couldn’t win a championship. I would have been at peace with that. I would have been good. But now that I’m with the Lakers, I can’t be at peace with not winning a championship (laughs).”
When asked, Barnes said his favourite thing to do on the floor is applying defensive pressure, which should be no 20-year-old’s favourite thing to do on the floor. As is normal for a kid whose size and athleticism were obvious from an early age, Barnes got involved in the AAU system early, with all the attendant skill development that comes with it. That is not what defined his basketball infancy, though. “I was always playing with older guys. Me growing up, I loved playing,” Barnes said. “I’d just go to the Salvation Army, LA Fitness. And when you go to LA Fitness, it’s a bunch of 40-year-olds, 30-year-olds. I was probably like 13, 14, 12, going to LA Fitness, going to hoop, being a little kid and having fun playing those sorts of people. But it teaches you the game, seeing their knowledge, seeing how they play, seeing their patience, how they read the floor, because those players have played a long time ago. They’ve got a little bit of knowledge about basketball. … It would be so packed that if you lose, you’re not getting (back) on for two or three games.”
Moses Moody, who Golden State selected with the 14th pick in this past draft, went on to team up with Barnes (and top pick Cade Cunningham, among other future NBAers and top college players) and Montverde. His first experience with Barnes was as an opponent. “On the court, you just think he’s crazy,” Moody said. “My first time really playing against him, he did a close out, he was on the other team, I’m shooting a 3. He had his hair going everywhere — that’s when he had his dreads and stuff. He’s coming out screaming. I missed the shot. It’s crazy. I was like, ‘What’s wrong with this dude?’”
“I can predict the future, at least when it comes to basketball. Scottie Barnes is gonna be a big-time player in the NBA,” Young said, interrupting. “I think some of the knocks on him are that he doesn’t shoot it well. He’s not a polished offensive player. He does have to improve offensively. His jump shot has improved from when he got to us to, where it is now, and he’s gonna improve it more because he’s a high-character gym rat. “I get frustrated because a lot of people say he’s Draymond Green. He ain’t Draymond Green. He’s Scottie Pippen. That’s what I first saw when I saw him in the ninth grade. I saw Scottie Pippen.”
A clearly agitated Randolph straight up socked a fresh-faced Steven Adams. The hilarious part is that the Kiwi big man barely even flinched, and didn’t look at all like he wanted to retaliate against his Grizzlies rival. “I definitely remember the type of battles (in Memphis), because they had a real gritty team,” he said. “(Oklahoma City) had a gritty team. Memphis had a gritty team. But Memphis has always been known as the Grindhouse, you know what I mean? “I think I have a good idea (what the culture is like), from playing against it. But I’ll just have to see what it is like when you are a part of it.”
“We’re good now, and we’re going to be good year in and year out. We’re going to build our own building, more of our own identity, more of our own personality. And I think some of the fans on the other side, if you will, it’s like, ‘What? You dare to question our supremacy?’ No, we do. “There’s 30 teams in the league. There’s 29 others. And we got one that happens to be based in L.A. And we got our fans. We use our expression, ‘LA Our Way.’ And we’re building our own presence, identity. And if the other guys feel a little threatened — the other guys’ fans, I mean; the players are actually a little different deal — but if they feel a little threatened, that’s OK. It means we’re doing good.”