Mike Krzyzewski is headed to the NBA, just not the way many envisioned a decade or two ago.
The former Duke men's basketball coach is joining the league as a special adviser to basketball operations, the NBA announced Wednesday. In the new role, Krzyzewski will reportedly "provide counsel to the league office, NBA team executives and other leaders across the league on a host of issues related to the game."
The 76-year-old coach will get his start next week at a meeting of NBA general managers in Chicago.
From the NBA:
"We are honored to have Coach K join the NBA family and share his vast experience and expertise with the league and our teams," said NBA President, League Operations Byron Spruell. "As a preeminent coach and renowned leader who cares deeply about the game of basketball, he is uniquely suited to drive discussions and offer insights about the present and future of the NBA."
"This is a tremendous opportunity to deepen my connection to the NBA and participate in conversations about further strengthening the league and the game," said Krzyzewski. "Even in my retirement from coaching, my passion for the sport has never been higher. This role will enable me to stay engaged with basketball at the highest level."
Adding Krzyzewski to the league office probably wasn't a hard sell to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who attended Duke as an undergraduate. For all we know, he's the one who pushed for it.
It also makes sense given that Krzyzewski will probably have more connections to today's NBA players than any other current or former college coaches given Duke's reputation as an NBA factory over the last decade or so and the three Olympics he's spent coaching the U.S. national basketball team.
Krzyzewski retired last season after 47 years spent at Duke, where he became the all-time college basketball wins leader with 1,202. During his time there, he won five national championships, 13 ACC tournaments and had 73 players drafted by the NBA, according to Duke.
During that tenure, Krzyzewski was reportedly targeted a number of times by NBA teams with head coaching vacancies, including the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.