Everybody wants to be wanted. And then there's Mike Krzyzewski.
The man already has a job for life at Duke, and barely three weeks to decide whether he wants to coach the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team again. But just for the record, Krzyzewski made it clear Tuesday the one job he definitely isn't interested in is the one Phil Jackson holds in Los Angeles.
``Not that it's so bad,'' Coach K mused at one point - and he should know.
The last time the Lakers made a run at Krzyzewski, in 2004, he turned down a reported $40 million. But he insisted rumors the club was after him again, or that he would even consider moving should Jackson retire were pointless.
``I'm getting ready to start my 30th year at Duke, and I don't see the finish line yet,'' Krzyzewski said a moment later. ``I know the finish line will be there sometime, but it's not in my vision right now.''
deadline drawing closer, Krzyzewski wasn't handing out any hints and Jerry Colangelo, his boss at USA Basketball, wasn't returning messages.
Instead, Coach K repeated what he's said pretty much since Kobe Bryant and LeBron James bought into his schemes and motivational shtick and brought home the gold medal from Beijing last summer.
Namely, that he's talking to a lot of people, trying to gauge their commitment before deciding on his.
``The great thing about it is, there's a camaraderie there,'' Krzyzewski said, ``and it's been a good thing.''
At least one thing. Especially if that old saying about walking and talking like a duck is true about Olympic coaches as well.
Three months ago in Chicago, Coach K served as the celebrity emcee at a tribute dinner for Colangelo. He told a few jokes, narrated a behind-the-scenes video of the team's romp to the top of the medals podium - then gave all the credit to his boss. Colangelo gave it right back.
Considering the backdrop, the grand room of the city's train station, it had the look and feel of an election rally. There was so much backslapping going around that if you walked into the room late, you might not know whom the guest of honor was. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who was among the invitees that night, said that was almost by design.
o added, ``are a match made in heaven.''
Joined at the hip might be more like it, two guys from tough Chicago neighborhoods who joined forces to take on challenges to U.S. basketball supremacy from the rest of the world. It didn't hurt, of course, that they managed to enlist Bryant, James, Chris Paul and a dozen more of the NBA's best for the cause.
Colangelo committed awhile back to stay on through 2012, already guaranteed the same unlimited authority and budget he had the last time around. After investing so much time and effort to change the culture and restore the reputation of USA Basketball, it's hard to imagine Krzyzewski walking away.
And if he and Colangelo do make it through the London Olympics, could either resist the chance to stick around if their hometown gets the 2016 Summer Games?
``Whether you're a player or a coach, it's going to be different,'' Krzyzewski said Tuesday about another Olympic tour of duty, ``and each of the guys who are making decisions as far as if they're going to play have to look at it that way.''
Here's another way of looking at it: Though Colangelo hasn't said what Plan B is if Coach K turns him down, there's a good chance his name is Mike D'Antoni.
ijing last summer, he got an inside look at what the job requires. He even got this ringing endorsement from Coach K during a New York City stopover in April:
``I don't want to say who I think would be good, but Mike D'Antoni is a great friend and was huge in us winning the gold medal,'' Krzyzewski said. ``He's really a genius, especially offensively. A lot of ideas we had on the offensive end of the court were Mike's.''
But until somebody tells D'Antoni more than he knows at the moment, he isn't planning to pack his bags for a trip to Las Vegas, where the formal announcement will be made later this month. He's a long-enough shot to get the job as it is.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org

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