ESPN: Pop a top candidate to replace Coach K

ESPN’s Mark Stein that Gregg Popovich is a top candidate to succeed Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of Team USA. Sources say Boston’s Doc Rivers will also get strong consideration should Krzyzewski, as expected, step down after leading the USA to its second straight gold medal.

“Coach K” has received rave endorsements from his players after going 62-1 during his tenure with USA Basketball. But even though program chairman Jerry Colangelo has said he’ll make one last attempt to convince him to stay, Krzyzewski said earlier this year that he would be leaving after the London Olympics, his fourth major tournament.

It goes without saying that Popovich would be an ideal fit. In addition to his wild success in the NBA and the instant respect he’d command, Popovich has extensive experience scouting and developing international players during his tenure with the Spurs.

But there’s also the matter of his relationship with Colangelo, which . He could also be at a disadvantage after Rivers was afforded the opportunity to rave about how special the opportunity would be as the NBC’s studio analyst during the Olympics.

Still, if winning is the top priority — and there’s no reason to think otherwise after Colandelo’s astute overhaul of USA Basketball — then there’s little doubt that Popovich will get a long, hard look.

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