Although war divided Yugoslavia into six countries—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia—the conflicts didn’t stanch the region’s love for the game. On the contrary, Musa, whose father served in the Bosnian military, believes the region’s war-torn history is largely responsible for the current generation of NBA-level talent. “Yugoslavian people have self-discipline that no other countries have because we are kids of the war,” Musa told The Crossover. “I wasn’t born during the war, but I felt it because my dad was in the military. He had 2,000 soldiers that he was responsible for. When you see people die all the time, it’s natural to fight for everything and to be emotional about everything. We have a ‘little something’ that no one can describe because the horrible, terrible war made us stronger.”
December 11, 2018 | 6:56 pm EST Update
Q: What are the Knicks going to do with Frank Ntilikina? Are the Knicks really trying to move him? Marc Stein: My sense is that the Knicks, despite some recent Twitter chatter on this front, are not actively looking to find a new home for Ntilikina. Is the 20-year-old Frenchman theoretically available? Will the Knicks field calls from interested teams on Ntilikina? Certainly. But there is a difference between listening and shopping.
Q: What are Fred Hoiberg’s prospects for another N.B.A. head coaching job? How much can the Bulls’ roster chaos of the last few years really be held against him? Marc Stein: “By all accounts, Hoiberg prefers to stay in the N.B.A. if he can rather than return to college coaching. But N.B.A. interest, I fear, is going to be limited. That’s my read even if you factor in the belief that, as his Golden Warriors counterpart Steve Kerr recently put it, Hoiberg “never really had a chance” to succeed in Chicago because the personnel for much of his stay so poorly meshed with Hoiberg’s preferred offensive approach. In the Nov. 13 edition of this very newsletter, some three weeks before Hoiberg was fired in Chicago, I wrote about the deep fondness Minnesota owner Glen Taylor still holds for Hoiberg. It stems from Hoiberg’s stint as a Timberwolves player and front-office executive before moving into college coaching at Iowa State. The Wolves, though, are the only known team to rate Hoiberg so highly.”
A new figure has emerged to lead the Trail Blazers in the wake of owner Paul Allen’s passing: his sister, Jody Allen. The Athletic has learned that Ms. Allen has been decisive in ruling on a variety of major decisions for the team, which as of now, she has no intention of selling. “Nothing is for sale right now,” said Chris McGowan, the Blazers president and CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, which also includes the Seattle Seahawks. “We are operating business as usual and Neil and I are collaborating regularly with her on all major organizational decisions.”
The Blazers were presented with a minor trade earlier this season, during which Ms. Allen gave the go-ahead, but the deal never materialized. That exercise sheds light on what some are calling a seamless and fluid hierarchy within the Blazers, which was in doubt when Allen passed away on Oct. 15 from complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.