Jerry Colangelo Rumors
“There may be just a handful of people who have as much influence and significance on the history of the Phoenix Suns,” Jerry Colangelo said. “All he accomplished as a player and as a coach. Off the court, he was a gentleman, a family man, great moral character. He represented the Suns the way you want every player to represent your franchise.”
LeBron James has made it known to top officials at USA Basketball that he wants to play in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but the uncertainty surrounding the 2020-21 NBA season has made planning next to impossible. “I was told he wants to plan on being able to play, but no one can totally commit under these circumstances,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told BasketballNews.com on Thursday.
Nonetheless, Colangelo is doing his best to prepare Team USA for as many possible scenarios as he can envision. “I’ve been on the phone with (NBA deputy commissioner) Mark Tatum about this, and he said all sorts of possibilities are on the table, but things change every day,” Colangelo said. “I wish I could plan. I just can’t. “I was told the NBA season would start in December, and then it was Christmas, and then after Jan. 1, and that keeps pushing the schedule for me. The NBA season typically takes 170 or 171 days to complete, so that creates a conflict on paper,” said Colangelo, adding that a suspension of the NBA season in order to clear time for the Olympics also has been discussed.
“If the [NBA] season conflicts with the Olympics, I might have 14 non-playoff teams to choose from, but then other players will become available as the NBA playoffs progress,” Colangelo said. “The problem is that the ICO has a rule mandating an early submission of a 12-man roster. But with a pandemic, the hope would be that you’ve got to set aside outdated rules. I assume people will be reasonable and come up with some kind of a program that works.”
The Brooklyn Nets hired Suns legend Steve Nash has their new head coach last week. Another Suns legend, former owner Jerry Colangelo addressed the Nets offering the job to the two-time MVP and Hall of Famer with no head coaching gigs on his resume and not one of the many black coaches available with substantially more experience. “He didn’t create (the disproportionate number of Black coaches in the NBA),” Colangelo told the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy. “He was offered an opportunity, and he’s a big boy, he understood what saying ‘yes’ might cause or create certain kinds of speculation. But he was willing to do that. “Certainly the same with (Nets general manager Sean Marks), he knew in hiring Steve he was potentially opening himself up. But he chose to do it. And so you have to honor that. We’re just living in a very precarious time and every decision is looked at with a microscope and race is brought into it. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it’s not.”
Like most of the rest of the sports world, Jerry Colangelo was shocked when he heard Steve Nash was hired by the Nets. And even though Colangelo worked closely with Nash as a former Suns owner and executive, he isn’t sure the two-time MVP can be a successful coach. “It’s all just speculation because of the fact is that he hasn’t coached on any level, at any time. And so it’s a big unknown,” Colangelo told the Daily News. “Does that mean he’s starting behind the 8-ball? Not necessarily.”
“If [Nash] is successful, one can look back and say, it didn’t matter that he doesn’t have any experience,” said Colangelo, who is now the director of USA Basketball and chairman of the basketball Hall of Fame. “If he struggles, you look at that box that was unchecked and say, well, the inexperience really cost him. So it’s an unknown, it’s a big unknown. It’s a gamble but probably a good gamble because of all his attributes.”