LOS ANGELES — Clippers coach Tyronn Lu will join the coaching staff for USA Basketball, replacing Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams who stepped down because of family commitments, the men’s national team announced on Wednesday. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will serve as head coach.
“I am truly honored to represent our country and join this great group of coaches,” Lue said in a statement. “Coaching USA Basketball has always been a dream of mine, and I’m humbled to take on the challenge.”
Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Mark Few of Gonzaga are the other assistants on the staff.
“I am truly honored to represent our country and join this great group of coaches,” Lue said. “Coaching USA Basketball has always been a dream of mine, and I’m humbled to take on the challenge.”
The United States has not yet qualified for either this summer’s World Cup or the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Americans – who use mostly G League players in qualifying games, before filling the roster with NBA talent for the major tournaments – will look to clinch a World Cup berth during the sixth and final window of qualifying games for that tournament later this month.
If the Americans qualify for the World Cup — one win in either of their two qualifying games this month at Uruguay and at Brazil would clinch the spot, and there are other ways for them to get in as well – then they will play in the Philippines at the tournament that begins on Aug. 25. The Americans could then qualify for the Paris Games based on their World Cup finish.
The U.S. will try to win a fifth consecutive Olympic gold next year in Paris.
BRIAN SHAW STEPS IN
Lue was not feeling well and did not address reporters before the game, sending assistant coach Brian Shaw in to answer questions, first about facing the Dallas Mavericks with new addition Kryie Irving then about Lakers star Lebron James setting the NBA’s career scoring record.
Shaw did not attend James’ historic game at Crypto.com Arena on Tuesday night, but called James’ feat “a tremendous accomplishment.”
“The game has come a long way and it’s a tribute to LeBron to be able to keep his body, more so than anything, in shape and in condition to be able to play as long as he has at the level that he’s been able to play at to be able to accomplish this record,” Shaw said.
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Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said the way James has kept his body and mind healthy, he wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers star played “until he is 50 … and he probably will be still averaging 25 points until he’s 50.”
Asked if Kidd thought James would catch him on the all-time assists list (Kidd is No. 2 with 12,091 assists and James is No. 4 at 10,351), Kidd jokingly said, “If he plays until 50, then yes.”
POWELL WANTS SPOT IN 3-POINT CONTEST
Clippers guard Norman Powell said he is interested in participating in the NBA All-Star 3-point shooting contest but is still waiting for details on how to enter.
Powell, a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, is shooting 42.2% from behind the arc this season.
“If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be on vacation,” he said.