Donovan thanks Popovich, Belichick for coaching advice

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, left, and talks with Billy Donovan, then head coach of the Thunder, following Game 6 of a playoff series May 12, 2016, in Oklahoma City. Now head coach of the Bulls, Donovan says Popovich is just one iconic coach he's sought advice from.

    San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, left, and talks with Billy Donovan, then head coach of the Thunder, following Game 6 of a playoff series May 12, 2016, in Oklahoma City. Now head coach of the Bulls, Donovan says Popovich is just one iconic coach he's sought advice from. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/30/2022 6:04 PM

Bulls coach Billy Donovan isn't afraid to seek advice from high places.

While talking about his history with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich this weekend, Donovan mentioned he's also sought advice from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick over the years.

 

"Even Bill Belichick has been really, really gracious with me with his time, because I went and spent a lot of time with him about them trying to win back-to-back Super Bowls," Donovan said. "There's just experiences people go through that others don't go through."

Donovan talked about being fascinated by how San Antonio lost a heartbreaker to the Miami Heat in the 2013 Finals, then came back and completed the task a year later.

Donovan had repeat national champions at Florida in 2006 and '07, but is looking for his first trip to the NBA Finals.

"I came in here for three days and we spent a lot of time together talking," Donovan said of Popovich. "He's an incredibly gracious guy, he's incredibly humble, down to earth. I kept calling him 'Coach.' He told me I wouldn't be welcomed back if I didn't call him 'Pop.' So I was really grateful for that experience."

LaVine accepts snub:

Zach LaVine took his all-star starting snub in stride when asked about it Friday. LaVine finished second behind teammate DeMar DeRozan in the player voting among East guards. But he was third in the fan and media vote, so Atlanta's Trae Young got the starting nod.

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"I'm very happy for DeMar, happy for Trae," LaVine said. "I think Trae's very deserving. I felt like I was just as deserving, but, you know, every year there's going to be somebody in and out.

"I do wish the criteria stayed the same. Last year, I had really good stats but was on a losing team. I wasn't in that same position, the narrative wasn't the same. But it is what it is. I'll keep my head down, keep working. I think I'm going to enjoy the weekend."

Young didn't get the same penalty for a poor record this season, but the Hawks are hitting their stride now that the roster is closer to full-strength. And he did carry Atlanta to the conference finals last year.

Green adds time:

Before Sunday's game, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Javonte Green would continue with a minutes limit as he recovers from an adductor strain, but will hopefully be available full-time after the Orlando game on Tuesday. ...

Portland forward Nassir Little was sidelined recently by a labrum tear in his left shoulder. Coincidentally, that's the same injury that shelved his college teammate Coby White over the summer. Portland star Damian Lillard, who crushed the Bulls with two last-second 3-pointers last season at the United Center, is out with a core muscle injury.

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