Spurs’ Gregg Popovich keeping eye on Japan, and Olympic hopes


United States' Kemba Walker, left, talks to coach Gregg Popovich during the first half of the team's exhibition basketball game. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, the U.S. men’s basketball coach, says he is watching how Japan — the site of the next Olympics — is handling the coronavirus.

“They seem to be doing a pretty good job,” Popovich said. He said he hopes the Tokyo Games, which were delayed until 2021, could still happen — especially if a vaccine or other remedies are developed beforehand.

The NBA plans to start next season in December, which could complicate Olympic availability for players. It’s not clear if the playoffs would be finished before the Olympics would begin on July 23, 2021.

That will make filling a roster “a little bit trickier,” Popovich said.

“I think there will undoubtedly be some players that we’d probably love to have, but circumstances may make it difficult for them with a short turnaround between whatever the end of the season is going to be and the Olympics,” Popovich said. “You can’t foresee people’s family situations and what might be good for them. So, we’d like to have all the players that we want. But I think to have every single one that we want, we’d have to be very fortunate.”

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